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Re: Late Fees and Security Deposit

Posted by gary on May 20, 2001 at 16:51:52:

In Reply to: Late Fees and Security Deposit posted by cate on May 17, 2001 at 13:54:56:

: Over a 15 year tenancy, I paid 5% late fees for about 5 years worth.

: Because I felt guilty for being a few days behind I paid the fees. The landlord also would not accept the next month's rent without the previous late fee. Also, while I was back in school, I received a few loud knocks and eviction notices for late payments and that scared me.

: Then I paid rent on time for the past five years. I just subletted for 18 months, the only time I ever did, as I was deciding to leave town. I finally moved out last month and the landlord sent me my security deposit subtracting $455 for back, retroactive late fees he didn't tell me about until this January when lease renewal came up. No notices, nothing. I didn't pay it then as I told him I wasn't renewing. One was for February 8, 2000, another the 10th of the month.

: Previously I had until the end of the second week before he imposed what I now see is an illegal overcharge.

: Please advise me on whether I should pursue any of this. It probably totals $4-5000 in late fees. But I wouldn't have done anything if I had received the full security deposit as it was promised to me.

: Thanks, Cate

: (written lease, 100 year old, 10 unit rent stabilized)

It's an interesting question but I'm afraid I'm really, really confused. Can you take us through that step by step?

Meanwhile, a couple of points: Late fees are allowed only if in the lease, and even then they are not always collectible (though they usually are if they are in your lease).
Secondly, if you have been overcharged consistently for the past five years, you can file an overcharge complaint with the DHCR and he may have to pay you triple damages. Or you can sue. Am not sure whether triple damages can be obtained by lawsuit (always better than dealing with the pro-landlord, possibly corrupt, always incompetent DHCR).
Afraid your post needs to be clarified before specific suggestions can be offered.

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