Can my landlord charge me late fees if I do not pay my rent on time?
This depends. Your landlord can ask you to pay late fees only if you have agreed to pay them and the amount demanded is in accordance with the law.
A landlord may only charge late fees in the amount of 5% of the monthly rent, or $50.00, whichever is less.
How could I have agreed to pay late fees?
You may have agreed to pay late fees in one of several ways:
1. Your written lease or a written rental agreement may allow the landlord to charge late fees. Look carefully at the agreement you signed.
2. Even if you don’t have a lease (or your lease doesn’t say anything about late fees), if your landlord has charged you late fees before and you have paid them, you may have agreed to pay late fees.
3. If your landlord told you before you moved in that he or she would charge late fees, you may have agreed to pay late fees. If your landlord has never mentioned late fees before and you have never paid them, you probably have not agreed to pay late fees.
If I have agreed to pay late fees, can my landlord charge me any amount they want?
No, pursuant to the Real Property Law Section 238-a(2) the amount of late fees a landlord may charge are limited to 5% of the monthly rent, or $50.00, whichever is less.
Can my landlord evict me if I do not pay the late fees?
Generally, no. However, when you pay your rent your landlord can apply it back to the oldest outstanding debt. Therefore, if you owe your landlord a late fee for one month and do not pay it, when you pay your rent the next month your landlord can apply that payment to the outstanding legal fee.
Pursuant to New York’s Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, your landlord cannot sue you for late fees in an eviction proceeding. However, your landlord may be able to sue you for late fees in a plenary action.
If you get court papers, do not ignore them. Go to court.