Landlords Claim Rent is Late

jmaximusFebruary 7, 2009

Hello all.

I recently received a letter from the office of the property management company that owns the apartment I rent. Their letter states that my rent for February was past due (paid on the second instead of the first), and are requesting $25 late charge.

Along with this letter, they sent a photocopy of the check I wrote them with a stamp they put on it that says "RECEIVED FEB 02 REC'D".

The thing is, I put my check in the rent payment box outside on the 30th of January! I even have the 30th written on the check in the date field. I KNOW I paid it, and now they are claiming I did not pay it on time!

Is there anything I can do about this? Do they have a right to simply claim willy-nilly that people are paying late and collect late fees? I expect to talk to the office on Monday.

On top of this, they were doing work in the bathroom upstairs because a leak caused our bathroom ceiling to cave in. They came in to our bathroom to fix it and got metal saw dust on EVERYTHING! It was a mess. And they left slivers of wood in the carpet and chunks of dry wall. This began on Monday, and Saturday now they have only managed to get up some sheet rock (not painted or anything yet). And, they did not clean ANYTHING up. I had to clean it all up myself. They might come back Monday to finish the work, I think (they will probably make another mess), but I cannot believe they were gonna leave my bathroom covered in that red rusted metal stuff for all this time!

I have mentioned these two issues together in hopes that if there is nothing I can do (technically/legally) about the late payment claim, I can at least attempt to sway them by using their mistreatment of me during this repair work to bargain them into caving on the late payment issue.

I live in Minnesota, and YES! you can bet we will be moving out of here come the end of the lease! [rant](These people have, quite frankly, been total d*cks ever since we moved in! Really care nothing for the people who PAY THEIR SALARIES).[/rant]

Thanks for any help on this matter,


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Do they only process rent checks on weekdays? Does it state that somewhere in your lease? That's the only thing I can come up with. If you paid after hours on the 30th (a Friday) and it was not retrieved until office opens next business day, that would make it Monday the 2nd that it was stamped as received.

I would take to them about it, but don't toss the bathroom issue in their face (keep it separate). Would avoid the "I dated my check the 30th" reasoning with them as well. I promise they see that all the time, checks dated on or before the 1st but not delivered by tenant until several days into the month. (Not saying you did this, but guarantee others do it on a regular basis.)

Anyway, if you're a good tenant, pay on time, just approach them calmly and say that you put your check in the box on the 30th, two days before it was due (since there were 31 days in Jan.) A different take: what if your check had been dated the first (which is perfectly logical). You delivered it during business hours on Friday the 30th. They still would not have been able to deposit it until the 1st at the soonest, because of how it was dated. Since the 1st fell on a Sunday they wouldn't have been able to deposit it until next banking day anyway, which would have been Monday the 2nd. Looking at it from that scenario, you would technically be penalized for not paying rent early, and I don't see how they can uphold something like that. Bottom line (and just my .02), if they're being that nitpicky with a weekend involved and receiving it on the 2nd, perhaps you should pay in person in the future and ask for a receipt.

As far as the bathroom goes, I don't understand why you're so angry? (I do understand when tenants get angry over repairs not done, but I don't understand when they get upset when repairs are being done.) Did mgmt actually leave the mess, or the contractor they hired? If it was a contractor, by all means let mgmt know that there are slivers of metal being left in the bathroom. (I have a few favorite contractors I use, but nearly all hire young kids as clean-up crews, and they don't always do a good job.)

Lastly, please show a little patience. If your ceiling caved in because of a plumbing leak they had to clear away all the debris both upstairs and in your unit to access the plumbing to find the leak. Then repair/replace the pipes. Then perhaps replace flooring upstairs. Replace your ceiling with drywall. Then tape/mud the drywall, let let that dry. Then prime, let that dry. Then paint a couple coats (and if done properly 4 hours dry time in between). It just doesn't happen in a day. Five days is not that bad considering all the work. I know it's a big inconvenience, but leaks and malfunctions do occur in structures. No one wants it to happen (it's as big a headache for mgmt as it is for you and your upstairs neighbor), and at least it's being repaired.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 8:02AM
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Weekends are included in the payment deadline. I have paid on weekends before and never had this problem. I cannot simply think of what would cause them to mark it late. Either they need money to pay off the bathroom repairs, or the buffoon of a property manager did not dig all the way into the box and left mine on the bottom (paying two days early could mean I am in the box first, since most folk, especially college kids like myself and most of their tenants, wait till the last minute).

So, if they do not budge on the late payment charge, is there nothing I can do? I am not wanting to pay for their darn mistake!


    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 12:32PM
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Since the first fell on a Sunday, they can't expect your rent until Monday, end of story. I've been waiting for my W2, and I finally found out that businesses only have to MAIL it by the 31st of January (not that I have to receive it by that date). This year, because the 31st fell on a Saturday, they didn't even have to mail it until Monday the 2nd. If the IRS allows for weekends, that's pretty much standard.

From reading moonshadow's post, I thought of something; in the same way that they might have hired a contractor with inexperienced cleanup people, maybe your office has a new person that only saw the date and didn't work out the logic of the weekend. Just calmly inform them that since the 31st and 1st both fell on the weekend, your Friday payment is fine, then drop the subject. They can't get the $25 from you unless you give it to them, and I'd just like to see them try and take you to court over it. Sometimes least said, soonest mended.

I wouldn't advise making a big deal out of the bathroom, but you really should mention it, at least in an offhand manner, and kind of hint that you worry about stepping on pieces of metal or splinters of wood. They need to know what their contractors are doing, and mentioning safety concerns is always a good way to perk up ears. :o)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 3:52PM
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Well, from reading the lease, they will add an additional $25 because it has gone past the 7th. I hate renting, ugh; this country needs a major overhaul on the housing rental system.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 10:58PM
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They did not budge! She said she checked the box twice. If that is the case, then they are intentionally charging me a late fee. What has this world come to :-(

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:49AM
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Well, check your state laws, because some states prohibit multiple late fees. And some states set limits on how much can be charged. So they might be breaking the State law by assessing that second fee. Google "____ landlord tenant laws", leave out the quotes, put your State name in the blank.

IMHO, if you're a good renter who pays on time, they should have let this one slide (personally, I certainly would have).

I tend to think this got lost in the bottom of the drop box (mine is white and deep, easy to miss an envelope that's facing down, so I have to put my hand in and make sure I've missed nothing because it's deceiving to the eye).

Also, if they are trying to slip a late fee in because of the bathroom (which initially I doubted, but since they aren't being very flexible I wonder), that is absolutely illegal.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 3:25PM
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Of course, there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it. I know they should have let it slide, but she asserted she had checked twice on the first and it was not there, and that it was not there until she checked on the second.

Since this issue is sort of done with, I have another question: where can I go to leave reviews/ratings for rental companies that people renting might actually see? Do you all know of any sites or media I could use to really drop this place a bad review? They have treated me awful ever since day one, even getting a phone connection was difficult. I want to tell someone somewhere so that the message is passed on.

Thanks for all of your help!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 3:02AM
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y rent is due from the first to the have no grace period?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 3:09PM
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Clearly a late fee is not due. Minnesota leases state that rent is due by the 5th of the month after that a late fee can be charged. Since the rent was paid on the 30th and received on the 2nd there is no late fee.

Send your landlord a written letter, keep a copy, and a copy of your lease agreement. If you don't trust them send it certified or priority with a receipt.

Good luck


    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 5:44AM
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