Tenant Cautioned For Forcing Landlord to Serve Notice Before Paying Rent

A tenant's post discussing their approach to their landlord after receiving a late fee drew commenters who urged them to exercise caution.

Taking to the Reddit forum "Malicious Compliance," u/taylrbrwr wrote in their post, which received nearly 10,000 votes, that a snafu resulted in their leasing office having trouble processing their rent payment. When they were told they would have to pay a $100 late fee despite offering a money order that same day, u/taylrbrwr decided to hang on to the rent payment until the latest "pay by" date possible.

Though a few readers applauded u/taylrbrwr, others warned that they may be getting themselves into a stickier situation.

According to Avail, most landlords charge a late fee if a tenant does not pay their full rent payment by the due date.

Rent Payment
Reddit commenters cautioned a tenant who said they planned to delay their rent payment after they faced a late fee. The poster said they planned to bring in the full rent payment the day it was due but was told they'd still have to pay a fee. MaslovMax/iStock

"If the rent is due on the first of the month, most landlords will activate the late fee on the second, unless there's a grace period that's either written into the lease or mandated by state or local laws," the piece by the organization stated.

Typically, grace periods range between three and five days and serve as additional time for tenants to pay their rent before a late fee is implemented.

Late fees are common in leases, and Avail reported that landlords will charge between $50 and $100 if someone did not pay their rent on time.

u/taylrbrwr wrote that their bank returned the rent payment to them that they submitted last week.

"I called the leasing office about this and it turns out this hasn't appeared in their system yet; it shows I have a zero balance," they wrote.

They said they offered to immediately bring in a money order after the call, which meant the leasing office would receive the funds that same day.

u/taylrbrwr wrote that they were advised to include an additional $100 because the system would classify the payment as late.

"Nope. Nevermind," they wrote. "If you're deciding to charge me a $100 late fee, I'm taking full advantage of it being 'late' and will no longer be coming in to pay today. I told them that."

Instead, u/taylrbrwr planned to hang on to their rent payment for a little longer.

"They can expect their payment on the 'pay by' date of the notice they file this month," they wrote.

u/taylrbrwr also clarified that the notice they referred to is a seven-day notice before an eviction is filed.

Fellow Redditors took to the comments to share their appreciation for u/taylrbrwr's approach, though many urged that they exercise caution.

"It's sh**ty for sure," a commenter wrote. "Hey if it makes you feel a little better then it's a win."

Another opined that $100 is not a "reasonable" late fee.

Others, however, urged u/taylrbrwr to pay the fee as quickly as possible.

Some wrote that u/taylrbrwr may face additional fees for each day they are late with their rent, while another said they dealt with a similar issue but was refunded the late fee.

"The office people may just be trying to work around the crappy processing system so that you don't get a bigger fee," the commenter suggested.

"You should have just paid the rent and challenged the late fee," a Redditor wrote.

Commented another, "I would just ask really nicely if they could make a one-time exception. If you've never been late before, point that out. Show proof you tried to transfer."

u/taylrbrwr provided an update in their post and noted that their bank gave them a courtesy credit for the system error and their landlord decided to waive the late fee.

"Rent is now paid," they wrote.

Newsweek reached out to u/taylrbrwr for further comment.

Other Reddit users have taken to the popular forum to share their stories.

When a dissatisfied customer attempted to pay a large bill with pennies, the business owner revealed that she had to wait as he counted all of the pennies to ensure she paid the correct amount.

Another post detailed how an employee managed to get revenge on their CEO after parting ways.

One man was applauded for doing the work that took their "useless" boss several days to complete in just a few hours.