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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Unhappy How to Deal with Tenant Who Refuses to Pay Late Fees

    I'm a California LL and have a tenant who refuses to pay late fees for a four-day late payment that occurred a few month's ago. Tenant paid late only once. Late fees were agreed to in the lease agreement, which expires in five months.

    Everytime I remind tenant about the late fees, tenant goes ballistic. Lately, tenant has become abusive and is annoying me with nuisance requests to fix petty things. I'm a pretty good LL and respond to tenant's request for repairs within a reasonable period of time, depending on the seriousness of the problem. Of course, health and safety issues have priority. However, tenant and I disagree regarding what is "reasonable". Tenant is being very obnoxious and bossy, and is acting like tenant has the upper hand. Tenant believes that determining what is reasonable and habitable can only be determined by tenant and refuses to pay late fees because tenant was "inconvenienced". I think this tenant has some emotional issues (passive aggressive?) and I'm considering asking tenant to vacate at end of lease period.

    Can I deduct the unpaid late fees from the security deposit when tenant moves out?

    Someone told me that I should have deducted the late fee from the following month's rent payment and billed tenant for the "unpaid balance".

    How should I handle this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: How to Deal with Tenant Who Refuses to Pay Late Fees

    The general rule of late fees is described here. If you have an enforceable claim for late fees, you should be able to claim them against the security deposit.

    How much money are we talking about?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Cinnaminson, New Jersey, United States

    Default Re: How to Deal with Tenant Who Refuses to Pay Late Fees

    In California, the late fees are considered part of the rent and if they tenant doesn't pay them, it is the same as being late with the rent.

    You should have served them a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit on the 4th day when they didn't turn in the late fee.

    You can do this and proceed with eviction. The tenant will have a chance to defend themselves in court and if they can't, they will be formally evicted. Trust me, they will pay. No one wants an eviction on their public record. It will make it near impossible for them to rent in the future.

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