Many rental agreements, both residential and commercial, will include clauses relating to late fees. Demanding late fees in a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit, however, could be fatal to your eviction case. Generally, demanding that the tenant pay late fees in a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit will cause the landlord to lose the eviction case. Therefore, in almost all cases, landlords should NOT demand that the tenant pay late fees in a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit.
The better place for landlords to demand that the tenant pay late fees is in a “3 Day Notice to Cure or Quit.” This is especially true if the late fees provision is an independent covenant of the lease.
Landlords can also sue the tenant in small claims court to try and recoup the late fees.
An exception may exist if the rental agreement defines late fees as “additional rent.” In this instance, landlords may be able to place late fees in a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit.
The laws pertaining to 3 day notices and late fees are complex and landlords should seek the assistance of a competent attorney.
The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction.
Read Attorney Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book.