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back check fees from LL

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Senior Member
my friend Lisa has a problem....

her lease reads...

"the monthly rental payable by tenant on this property is $700 per month due and payable in advance on the first day of each month and becoming delinquent after the 7th day of the month, if the rental payment is not made by the 7th day of the month a late charge of 3% of the monthly rental is due and payable by the tenant as a late charge. If the payment is not made by the 15 day of the month an additional charge of $1 per day for each day of delinquency, commencing with the 15 day is due and payable until payment is made."

she wrote a check for rent on the 7th. it bounced. they ran it through again on the 13. it bounced. (honestly a problem with automatic deposit)

she made good on the rent on the 25th. she was instructed that she owed them for return check fees of $125. that 25 for each time it was rejected. Lisa went to the LL with a money order for $96. 2 check charges (50), 3% (21) and 25 for the 25 days.

the business manager - who didn't want her living there in the first place and is a real witch. stated she was responsible because they had two company checks returned. can they hold her liable for checks that they have written?

now they sent her a letter stating that she was responsible for 2 returned deposit fees, 2 check fess (all at 25 @), plus the additional 3% and 1 a day.

me reading through it, she would owe them the return check fess and the 3%, but only owe the 1 a day from the 15th to the 25 - $11. i am thinking more around 82.

another thing about her lease. how binding is it.

it is made out to Lisa and Don Henson. her name is Lisa Henson. her BF is Don Stevens. Don is the only one who signed the lease. he signed it Don Stevens. The land lord signed, but there signatures are not dated. no notary (if that matters)

she is trying to be responsible, but i think that the business manager is just trying to railroad her.

state is LA

[Edited by Ambr on 06-09-2001 at 05:24 PM]


Senior Member
Pay the charges!!!

Lisa needs to handle her own problems. She is a Big Girl, has a checking account and since you won't be around to handle her problems for the rest of her life, why not let her start now with this one?!

She needs to pay $$$ demanded by Biz Manager, write a notice of apology and NOT argue. She clearly made a mistake so she needs to apologize. If she were my tenant, she would be packing her belongings as the sheriff would have already posted her door with move-out date.


Senior Member
she is a big girl, i agree, and she is trying to be responsible for it. she took the 96 money order to the ll on two seperate occasions. she has attempted to be responsible. she has covered the amount of the rent already.

she has never been late on her rent, this was the only bounce check incident, her BF makes their own repairs and even does some side work for the LL on other rentals.

to be honest, i don't think the LL should be able to hold her accountable for checks that they write out of their account. a business account should not be so drained that 700 returned check will wipe it out in the first place. that would be like her holding her employer responsible for messing up her deposit in the first place.

the LL admits that 4 other renters are not paying their rent. that they have had several problems with them. the actual LL has even stated they don't have a clue where the business manager is getting the figures. we can't locate anything in the statues that cover additional fees.

and she just got a call from the LL - they didn't have a clue about the letter the business manager sent. much less that she signed their signature to it. sounds like BM is going to be in big trouble come monday morning.

if she were trying to get out of all the charges, i could understand being upset with her. but she has covered and attempted to cover the regular fees. including taking off from work twice to attempt to pay the charges.

the question wasn't what would you do with her as a tenant. the question was can they legally require her to pay their bad check fees?

thank you for your post though. at least we know that her business manager isn't the only jerk LL in the world.


Senior Member
i know that everybody has a different way of life, but not every one can afford to own 4 or 5 rental properties and not worry about money and costs.

i know that 96 and 146 may seem like small numbers to some people. but take a 19 year old mother, 9 month old baby and her boyfriend. they don't live off of the state, because they are attempting to take care of their daughter on their own. they live from paycheck to paycheck, trying to save where they can. they both work very hard for everything that they have. the love they have for each other and their child would literally blow some people away. these are people who are trying to do eveyrthing that they can. and the 50 buck difference means diapers and formula for their child.

compare to a business manager who is technically handling the affairs of the LL, but apparently in more of a pursuit then what the LL intended. the LLs took a liking to Lisa and her BF from the start. they said that they reminded them of them when they were first starting out.

i think this is a matter of a BM that is being to pushy.


Senior Member
In reading your post, one thing seems to be missing (and the largest point of contention). That being the 'bounced check' fees. They aren't mentioned in the lease (at least the paragraph you furnished). What exactly is said about the tenant being responsible for them and how much???

Your original post is a little confusing as to how much each 'NSF' was charged ("she was instructed that she owed them for return check fees of $125. that 25 for each time it was rejected."). I assume you meant $25 per NSF. If so, I come up with the following owed:
2 NSF checks @ $25.00 each = $50.00
3% latefee on $700 = $21.00
$1 per day (15-25) = $11.00
TOTAL = $82.00

Any other fees or penalties, not specifically noted in the lease or otherwise accepted by BOTH parties, are not enforcable.

And I agree with your subsequent post.. unless there is a specific provision (and approval of same) for the tenant to be responsible for landlord or management failures is NOT recoverable. They are a cost of 'doing business'. If the landlord/management is going to start charging the tenant for THEIR loss, the tenant should get the benefit of the accounting principles allowing for tax deductions, etc. for the losses and other tenant issues.

Finally, though you implied it, but didn't stress it, I think the landlord/management has a problem with a possible unenforcable lease. The lease names two tenant parties, but NEITHER of them signed the lease. Further, the one signature on the lease isn't even a valid tenant (though a court would probably find that HE was responsible, she appears to have NO responsibility). Obviously, the negative to this is that she also has no rights of tenancy in the unit!!!

In summary, I would ONLY pay the $82.00. Let the management decide to pursue the difference if they chose. And you should plan on probably not being asked to renew your lease when it is complete.
[I say this as a residential rental property OWNER of over 12 years!]


Senior Member
wanted to give an update on the situation.

the landlord called and talked with her and they were not aware of anything that the BM was doing. all of the letters that she was signing their names to, etc.

she explain the 82.00 and the landlords agreed to that amount. they also stated that they would talk with their BM because they were not aware that their checks had been returned. that found that unusual because the balance should never be that low.

the LL told her that if she was willing he would work out something so that they could buy the house they were renting.

i tried to explain the fact that she also had no binding rights as a tenant and could possibly be kicked out on her butt if she brought this to their attention.

thank you for the help.

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