Late Payment Fee as leverage… - Posted by Frank
Posted by Frank on April 07, 2002 at 08:07:22:
Has anyone ever logged late fees during the lease and used it as leverage at the end of the lease. For example, if rent is due on the 1st and a tenant pays on the 6th for 7 out of 12 months you may have logged $350 in late fees. Could you use that as leverage so they get there act together at the end of the lease. I have no need to charge the $350 but just would like to have more leverage not only at the end of but during the lease and be able to remind them that they have “over $350 in late fees” that I will consider waving if every goes smoothly.
Question is, can you even legally log the late payment, make a copy of the check dated the 5th or 6th, and then collect the late fees at the end of the lease or hold it out of the security deposit. Again, not that I’m trying to take advantage of tenants and I would probably never keep that money but I don’t want to blow smoke either. If I am not legally entitled to the money I would never even speak words of it as leverage or anything else. I would just collect the late fee each month if I felt necessary. Granted some tenants are smart enough to back date their check before they mail it so a copy of their check dated the 1st, means nothing if you get it on the 6th, besides that you supposedly had it in your pocket for 5 days before depositing it.
Like many landlords, I try to implement a zero tolerance management strategy. Out goes the late notice on the 3rd. In comes the check on the 6th. But you certainly don’t kick a tenant out who pays consistently on the 6th, but it NEVER hurts to have a little more leverage in any situation. I have never actually charged her the $50 late fee. I know you veterans are saying, charge her the darn $50 one time and she’ll be on time. Here’s my deal…I operate in a nice Cleveland Suburb and have never missed one month’s rent or had to evict anyone in 4 years and I have 19 units. I feel it’s b/c I’m a good property manager and not because I’m lucky. Does anyone else experience this type of management or am I just on a roll here?? I try not to be the “tyrant” landlord but again I never turn down a little more leverage!
Any legal info on whether the landlord can log and collect at the end would be appreciated.