Tenant warned for forcing landlord to give notice before paying rent
A tenant’s post discussing his approach with his landlord after receiving a late fee drew commenters who urged him to tread carefully.
Speaking to the “Malicious Compliance” Reddit forum, u/taylrbrwr wrote in their post, which received nearly 10,000 votes, that a snafu caused their rental office to have difficulty processing their rent payment. When told they would have to pay a $100 late fee despite being offered a same-day warrant, u/taylrbrwr decided to hold on to paying rent until the last date of “payment” possible.
Although a few readers applauded u/taylrbrwr, others warned that they could find themselves in a more difficult situation.
According to Avail, most landlords charge a late fee if a tenant doesn’t pay their rent in full by the due date.
“If rent is due on the first of the month, most landlords will activate late fees on the second, unless there is a grace period written into the lease or required by state or local law,” the organization said. .
Typically, grace periods range between three and five days and allow tenants to pay their rent before late fees are in place.
Late fees are common in leases, and Avail said landlords will charge between $50 and $100 if someone doesn’t pay their rent on time.
u/taylrbrwr wrote that their bank returned the rent payment they submitted last week.
“I called the rental office about this and it appears it hasn’t appeared in their system yet; it shows I have a zero balance,” they wrote.
They said they offered to bring a money order immediately after the call, which meant the leasing office would receive the funds the same day.
u/taylrbrwr wrote that he was advised to include an additional $100 as the system would classify the payment as late.
“No. It doesn’t matter,” they wrote. “If you decide to charge me a $100 late fee, I take full advantage of it and won’t be coming to pay today. I told them that.”
Instead, u/taylrbrwr planned to keep his rent payment a little longer.
“They can expect their payment on the ‘payment’ date of the notice they file this month,” they wrote.
u/taylrbrwr also clarified that the notice they were referring to is a seven-day notice before an eviction is filed.
Fellow Redditors took to the comments to share their appreciation for u/taylrbrwr’s approach, though many urged them to tread carefully.
“It sure sucks,” wrote one commenter. “Hey, if that makes you feel a little better, then that’s a win.”
Another felt that $100 is not a “reasonable” late fee.
Others, however, urged u/taylrbrwr to pay the fees as soon as possible.
Some wrote that u/taylrbrwr might have to pay an additional fee for each day their rent is late, while another said they dealt with a similar issue but were refunded the late fee.
“The office workers might just be trying to circumvent the shitty processing system so you don’t get higher fees,” the commenter suggested.
“You should have paid the rent and disputed the late fees,” wrote one Redditor.
Another commented: “I would just ask them nicely if they could make a one-time exception. If you’ve never been late before, point it out. Show proof that you tried to transfer.”
u/taylrbrwr provided an update in his post and noted that his bank had given him a courtesy credit for the system error and that his owner had decided to waive the late fee.
“The rent is now paid,” they wrote.
Newsweek contacted u/taylrbrwr for further comment.
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