Good faith execution of contracts

A lease contract for an apartment has a provision by which any late rent will trigger a $50 late fee, the rent is around $1500. On a given month, the tenant sends a check but he forgets to add the cents in the check, therefore 75 cents are missing to the monthly payment. The next month, the landlord asks for 75 cents and $50 of penalty.

Such a behavior can be rational from the landlord in the case of rent control, where his reputation does not negatively affect the price of the rent.

Assuming this silly (and purely hypothetical, honestly I swear) situation applied to you, would you feel justified in saying this is abusive or would you bow to the contractual rule?

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A rule is a rule...

and so should be followed (or obeyed). Whether it is in the landlord's best interest even if the rent shortage were >$1.00 but less than $5.00 short is the topic of discussion. If I were the landlord I would hope to earn more referral business by overlooking (but pointing out) what is an honest mistake. I've had two landlords come by to remind me my rent is late (but not charge me a fee) and I have nothing but good things to say about them and jumped to my checkbook and gladly and franticly issued my landlord a check for the fine service they rendered.

Contrary to that point, I've never been a landlord and for all the hassle I read and hear about renters I certainly wouldn't feel it is abusive to charge a fee per the contract. The renter could have asked to have his rent rounded up or down to the closest dollar if the renter felt that writing a correct amount on the check were a possible challenge.

One landlord I've had that was a stickler eventually was stiffed by yours truly for a portion of the damage done to the apartment (I'd explain further but it would be an excuse.) and I shortly thereafter declared bankruptcy. Like I said previously about renters, they are an unreliable lot.

I agree, a rule is a rule.

I agree, a rule is a rule. But so much respect is lost and reputation is damaged when a property manager does something like this. A similar situation actually just happened to my roommate and me this past month. We underpaid $5.00 of our rent, because we just moved in and thought it was $5.00 less than was actually due. Rather than charge us a late fee, they wrote a letter and stuck it under our door asking us to pay the $5.00 by the end of the week. They know we didn't do it on purpose. I think the key here would be to find a property that you know will treat you well. I moved to this place because a good friend of mine really liked the property managers. So just find somewhere that treats you right. www.bluesunproperties.com offers condos in Panama City, FL.

-Jenny McMaster