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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    delayed LATE FEES..... Please help

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Florida

    I am writing regarding an issue that i have with late fees.

    I rented an apartment in miami, fl from september till december last year. Every month the rent was late(average 20 days) and it was due to the fact that the electricity was under the landlord's name and she would tell me how much the bill is for and at that time I would pay for it.

    The girl is a classmate from my school so I know her. During the four months she never once said anything about late fees, which according to the lease are $40/day after the first of the month. I paid $1000/a month for the rent. Since I was late for rent every month on avg. 20 days, the late fees alone if i am late 25 days equal the rent itself.

    In december I left early but paid the whole rent for the last month, she was fine with everything. Now when it came time to give the deposit back, she sent me back $700 without an explanation about why it was that much.

    When I asked she wrote in an email that it was for cleaning the place and at that time I mentioned to her that the lease does not say anything about charging that much, and she could of been courteous and could of told me why she was charging. I mean i understand if there is a charge for cleaning it would of been nice for her to let me know

    I guess this really made her mad and now she wrote back saying that since i was always late every month, the total comes out to $2600 $40/per day late fees, for all the days i was late every month.

    She is only now doing it because i asked about the $200. Every month that I was late, she never mentioned verbally or written about late fees that are due. She would accept the checks as rent and electricity bill.

    I was reading some laws does this apply to me? or anything else that you can think of. Since she kept accepting the rent checks without any written or verbal notice of the late fees due. Can she really come now and demand all four months of late fees and is it even possible for her to charge this much $40 per day, no grace period.

    I am just a student, I live on loans from semester to semester and I dont have money like $2600 laying around.

    Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I thank you for your time and advice. they are both greatly appreciated.

    Florida Statute 83.56 part 5

    "(5) If the landlord accepts rent with actual knowledge of a noncompliance by the tenant or accepts performance by the tenant of any other provision of the rental agreement that is at variance with its provisions, or if the tenant pays rent with actual knowledge of a noncompliance by the landlord or accepts performance by the landlord of any other provision of the rental agreement that is at variance with its provisions, the landlord or tenant waives his or her right to terminate the rental agreement or to bring a civil action for that noncompliance, but not for any subsequent or continuing noncompliance. Any tenant who wishes to defend against an action by the landlord for possession of the unit for noncompliance of the rental agreement or of relevant statutes shall comply with the provisions in s. 83.60(2). The court may not set a date for mediation or trial unless the provisions of s. 83.60(2) have been met, but shall enter a default judgment for removal of the tenant with a writ of possession to issue immediately if the tenant fails to comply with s. 83.60(2). This subsection does not apply to that portion of rent subsidies received from a local, state, or national government or an agency of local, state, or national government; however, waiver will occur if an action has not been instituted within 45 days of the noncompliance."What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?

    Last edited by JohnH84; 01-19-2010 at 10:46 PM. Reason: explanation
  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Dallas, Texas
    Yes they can back bill you, if you were late, you were late and late fees would have been applied under the lease. An agent of the company cannot overide a lease agreement verbally or otherwise unless both parties agree in writing in most cases. The fact that they did not bill you late fees shows consideration on their part to be nice and not bill you. maybe they did retaliate against you because you challenged a fee you did not agree with, but did you take in to consideration they waived your late fee of X amount of dollars at that time knowing you were late or am i wrong or misunderstand your post?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Thats what I thought

    Since the topic of late fee was never brought up and it happened every month and I would see this person 3-4 times a week. So if she at any time felt I had owed her late fees she could of atleast said something. Also the statute that I found does that not apply to me? Could you please elaborate on your answer on why they can still charge, when they have already given the deposit back. Also, are there any laws in florida regarding the amount of fees someone can charge?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Dallas, Texas
    Ok i reread your post and did not notice upon first glance that the agent of the property actually issued you refund and is now claiming you owe late fees. You said she did not provide you will a reason for the deduction until you contacted her, is that correct? With every state that I am aware of, whom ever handles the escrow of deposit accounts must furnish you a copy of known as a disposition of deposit and accounting. This can be a very basic form that references your name, your address and the owner (basically it is a statement) and itemized list of charges, if applicable that were assessed toward your deposit and withheld as a result. Basically, most leases state that once you vacate the unit the landlord has a specific time frame to refund your deposit if and I say if certain conditions apply. If a LL in some states wanted to get technical, they could not issue a refund within the normal allotted time of certain state provisions allow for this type of activity.

    For example, in Texas a landlord can under Texas law withhold your security deposit indefinitely if you fail to actually indicate your forwarding address in writing, specify where you want the deposit mailed to (if owed a refund) and if none exists they can hold it in escrow indefinitely. They don't have to send it to the last known address. Sometimes your lease will have one provision to provide blanket coverage of the law which is federal law, but when you get into individual chapters and subsections of law of each state that grant more flexiblility to the either the LL and/or tenant. Each state is different of course.

    I know that was off topic and trying to help you, but what seems normal or fair may not always be the case.

    You recieved a deposit refund of $700, which shows they were never intending to charge you late fees or you would have no deposit at all to begin with, am I right? It is only when you ask about the validity of the charges for cleaing does she get nasty with you. Well, some agents like to abuse their power. It sounds like she maybe retaliating against you just to get you to go away. It's kind of like her saying "how dare you challenge me now when you and I both knew you were late every month and I never billed you. If you want to play that game, then here we go"

    Did you clean the place, honestly? did you do a walk through with her at the time of move out. Do you have anything in writing to back up your claim the apartment was clean (photographs move out documentation both of you signed?). Just because she does not have anything in the lease that says how much it costs to clean an apartment does not mean she cannot bill you. She may have to provide you will a cleaning bill to prove she paid that much money to have it cleaned. You can certainly ask for it in writing for her to prove the charge is legit. Most owners can upcharge a bill anyway since they have to do all the leg work, calling, pay the bill, process a check to the housekeeper etc. and they can load this as time/effort to do something a resident should have done themselves.

    Anyway, have you recieved a demand for payment letter or a bill on their letter head stating they are back billing you for late fees through the mail service and not by email? If you have not recieved a bill for back charges, then you have nothing to worry about, she may be immature and bluffing you. Save the email for you protection or any correspondence you do have in the future in case this comes up again. If it does, then drop a line on the forum here.

    If you do get billed which she could do again, anyone can create a bill of charges, and claim it was an accounting oversight. If it shows up on your credit for some reason then I would dipute it and you will probably win simply because she did not process your deposit accounting correctly to begin with and if you get in front of a judge she would have a hard time explaining away why you got a refund at all.

    I would take the money and run if I were you and not challenge it any further and see it as a lessoned learned. The burden of proof that you owe lies on her shoulders at this point and not yours. If you have a problem with her directly, you may just want to take it up directly with her supervisor or upper management.

    Last edited by Badbrains; 01-23-2010 at 01:27 AM.
  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    here is something I found, maybe it can help?

    My landlord gave me an eviction notice, saying I breached my lease by being late with my rent too often.*I've been late many times, but I always pay a late fee, and the landlord has never complained.*Can the landlord suddenly evict me if they've always let me pay late?
    By letting you pay late, and not doing anything about it, your landlord may have*waived the lease term requiring prompt payment of rent. A landlord shouldn't be able to enforce a lease term once itís been waived.
    In the most general sense, a waiver is a giving up or loss of a right.*In a landlord-tenant relationship, we're mostly talking about contract rights created by a lease.
    Contract rights can be waived by not enforcing them. Where a lease requires or prohibits something, and the party entitled to enforce that requirement or prohibition doesn't, they risk losing their enforcement rights in the future.*
    As one Illinois case says, "prior leniency in the enforcement of conditions of a lease, such as the covenant for prompt payment of rent, can give rise to a waiver of that condition."
    There's a kind of use-it-or-lose-it justice behind this waiver through inaction. It's simply not fair to let someone do something, so that they get in the habit of doing it, and then turn around and punish them for doing it.*
    Waiver can be a defense in an eviction case.*Whether a waiver has occurred depends on the parties' course of conduct, which depends on the particular facts of each case. The longer or more frequently a landlord has tolerated a breach, the more likely it is that the landlord has waived the right to enforce that lease term.
    To prove that a landlord waived the right to the prompt payment of rent, the tenant must prove that the landlord has repeatedly excused the late payment of rent. You can testify about how often you paid late, and how late you paid. You can also describe how the landlord tolerated your late payment, so that you believed it was OK to pay late.**
    Some things can derail a waiver defense. Written leases and contracts often have an "anti-waiver" clause, saying that failing to enforce a lease term isn't a waiver.*Getting around this may require really strong evidence of a clear pattern of behavior.
    A landlord can also revive a previously waived lease term, and make it enforceable again.*They just have to give written notice that strict compliance will be required in the future.*Therefore, if you got a letter saying you had to start paying on time, even though you'd paid late in the past, you're probably out of luck if you continued to pay late.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Did you sign a lease with the $40/day late charge stipulation? I greatly doubt a judge would award that exorbitant of a late charge. Something that high would be considered usurious.

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