Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: I have lived at the same complex for a few years. The property has changed hands and the staff also has changed. The current manager has been here over six months. I have never been charged late fees when I went past the grace period and I have some bank information to support that has occurred more than once. This month she stuck me with over $70 in late fees for the first time. I asked her why she is now penalizing me for the first time and she said she is tired of everyone walking all over her. I am under the impression that since she has not previously enforced the fees that she can't now?

Answer: Under Arizona law, a late fee may be charged when rent remains unpaid after the day it is due if the fee is specified in the rental agreement and it is reasonable (A.R.S. 33-1314 & A.R.S. 33-1377). If a tenant pays rent late, and the landlord accepts the late payment and does not charge the late fee, and especially if the landlord does this repeatedly (by not asking for last month’s late fee whenever this month’s rent is paid), then the tenant may have a basis to argue that the landlord has impliedly waived the late fee for those months. However, while the case law is clear about this in many other states, here in Arizona it is not. So the specific details of your previous interactions with your landlord – anything she has said about your rent payments and/or about late fees in the past – will be important. If you wish to speak with an attorney, there are links to free or low-cost legal assistance on this website.

QUESTIONS

  • I have lived at the same complex for a few years. The property has changed hands and the staff also has changed. The current manager has been here over six months. I have never been charged late fees when I went past the grace period and I have some bank information to support that has occurred more than once. This month she stuck me with over $70 in late fees for the first time. I asked her why she is now penalizing me for the first time and she said she is tired of everyone walking all over her. I am under the impression that since she has not previously enforced the fees that she can't now?

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