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Old 02-10-2008, 04:45 PM
 
1 posts, read 25,699 times
Reputation: 16

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[SIZE=2]Here's what happened:

My rent is due on the 1st with no grace period. I deposit the money directly into my landlords bank account because she lives out of town and has said that is what she would like. I'm fine with that. I paid my rent on the 28th.
Unfortunately my check bounced. She called me and notified me that it had bounced and that she had checks of her own riding on my check that bounced as well. She then told me that I would have to pay her for all of her bank fees, not only for my check bouncing but all of her checks that she had riding on my check that bounced as well. I didn't think this sounded right so I checked my lease and of course it only states that I have to pay a $25 NSF fee for my check. I called her and told her that I had read the lease and deposited the $25 dollars in her account. She then told me that there is a $25/day late fee and until my check clears her bank those fees are adding up. I checked the lease and it says, " The Tenant will be charged an additional amount of $25 per day for any Rent that is received after the latter of the due date and the expiration of any grace period under the Act, if any." By the time my check clears her bank it will be the 11th and cost me $225.
My questions are...
Can my landlord charge me a late fee because my check bounced. Technically I paid my rent the 28th~ on time.
Also if she can charge me a late fee, I have read that late fees are illegal in CA but also read that they are legal if reasonable. So if they are legal is $225 reasonable.
Also she is saying the late fee is racking up until my check clears. Not when I deposited the money into her account. Can she do that? It's not up to me how long her bank takes to process my check.
[/SIZE]
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,540 posts, read 14,856,581 times
Reputation: 4625
Quote:
Originally Posted by win592 View Post
[SIZE=2],,,Can my landlord charge me a late fee because my check bounced. Technically I paid my rent the 28th~ on time.

Also if she can charge me a late fee, I have read that late fees are illegal in CA but also read that they are legal if reasonable. So if they are legal is $225 reasonable.
Also she is saying the late fee is racking up until my check clears. Not when I deposited the money into her account. Can she do that? It's not up to me how long her bank takes to process my check.
[/SIZE]
Well,

"Technically I paid my rent the 28th~ on time." - if it bounced it was not on time.
$25 a day is unreasonable, but if you signed a lease agreeing on it you are likely screwed.
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:54 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
1,368 posts, read 4,475,028 times
Reputation: 505
While you're right that its her fault for having other checks riding on yours, and that its unjust to have you pay for her fees associated with that.

However, your check bouncing IS your problem, and if your lease agreement says that you owe $25/day, then you probably owe 25/day.
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Oz
2,238 posts, read 6,429,969 times
Reputation: 1299
You did not pay your rent on the 28th, "technically" or not. Technically, your rent isn't paid until the money is clear in her account. It's probably not fair of her to put her other banking fees on you though, because it's her responsibility to make sure she has money in her account to cover things, not yours.
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,072 posts, read 8,291,964 times
Reputation: 1585
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoaminRed View Post
You did not pay your rent on the 28th, "technically" or not. Technically, your rent isn't paid until the money is clear in her account. It's probably not fair of her to put her other banking fees on you though, because it's her responsibility to make sure she has money in her account to cover things, not yours.
I agree ......

DM Ultrarunner, who is an expert on landlord/tenants.
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:45 AM
 
3,376 posts, read 5,757,139 times
Reputation: 4643
If your rent payment bounces, isn't it standard for landlords to only accept money orders, cashier's checks and/or cash for payment after the fact?

I once (ONCE!) bounced a check to the property manager because I was in the process of changing checking accounts and wrote a check out of the old account. I caught it the day it bounced in my account, called the property manager and ran over to the office with a cashier's check plus the $25 NSF in my lease. They forgave the $35/day late fee (8 days) because of the way I handled it. They didn't insist on the cashier's checks after that, but I used them anyway for a few months until I had my banking cleared up. I was very embarassed and grateful for their latitude.

It was in your lease. I agree that rent isn't paid until they get payment. Your bounced transaction wasn't payment. Allowing a tenant to count rent as paid even though payment hasn't cleared their account (via check, for example) is a COURTESY extended by landlords, not a right.

(I now use cashier's checks for rent for the first few months after we move, regardless. It's just safer right after we move.)
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
1,368 posts, read 4,475,028 times
Reputation: 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by sskkc View Post
If your rent payment bounces, isn't it standard for landlords to only accept money orders, cashier's checks and/or cash for payment after the fact?

I once (ONCE!) bounced a check to the property manager because I was in the process of changing checking accounts and wrote a check out of the old account. I caught it the day it bounced in my account, called the property manager and ran over to the office with a cashier's check plus the $25 NSF in my lease. They forgave the $35/day late fee (8 days) because of the way I handled it. They didn't insist on the cashier's checks after that, but I used them anyway for a few months until I had my banking cleared up. I was very embarassed and grateful for their latitude.

It was in your lease. I agree that rent isn't paid until they get payment. Your bounced transaction wasn't payment. Allowing a tenant to count rent as paid even though payment hasn't cleared their account (via check, for example) is a COURTESY extended by landlords, not a right.

(I now use cashier's checks for rent for the first few months after we move, regardless. It's just safer right after we move.)
Not a bad idea on the cashier's check. I'll use that.

Never had a rent check bounce, but I did have to pay rent late once. Called up the manager after seeing a 3-day notice, explained what happened, and she waived the fee and we paid rent the next day.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Earth
1,480 posts, read 2,911,169 times
Reputation: 1368
NSF fees for bounced checks on top of late fees is common. I would not have signed a lease that demanded rent on the 1st with no grace period. A late fee of $25 a day is pretty hefty, but not unreasonable. Compare that with what I've seen to be average, a one time late fee between $75 to $125 and sometimes a daily fee of $5-$10 to boot. As a tenant and former property manager, I've seen leases with NSF fees of $50-$75.

Consider this: your landlord has to pay a mortgage (among other expenses). Most landlords do not make money hand over fist on rent, some just break even, others may take a loss. They are counting on appreciation and equity to make the investment payoff. And if you've been reading the news lately, you know times are tough in the real estate world.
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,668 posts, read 5,465,196 times
Reputation: 1486
$25 a day is not only ridiculous, it is illegal. In Maryland, late fees can only be 5% of the rent monthly. That means that a $500 February rent can be paid on March 1, with a maximum $25 let fee for the entire month. That's the law. I wish landlords would quit making up leases without knowing the law, and that tenants would have the lease reviewed by legal council prior to signing. Anyway (off of my soapbox now), start sending her a registered mail cashiers check, and leave her bank alone. Or, you can pay through a third party, such as an accountant or an attorney.
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Old 02-15-2008, 09:23 AM
 
Location: NJ/NY
10,526 posts, read 11,205,700 times
Reputation: 2633
Take responsibility for your actions and pay the late fee, you did not pay on the 28th, you passed a bad check on the 28th.

If your job did not direct deposit your paycheck on your payday, and you had bills bounce, wouldn't you feel the same way?

When I got my first apartment, I accidentally bounced the rent check one month. I realized it the day it bounced, went and got cash to cover it, plus an extra $50, and went to my landlords house to give it to him and explain the situation. He didn't even take the extra $50.

You could have taken cash out and deposited it into her account and it would have cleared immediately, rather than a check. Based on the fact that your previous check bounced, I don't blame the landlord for charging you a late fee until your check actually clears.
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