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No More late Fees: New Law on Late Fees in DC Landlord Tenant cases

October 10, 2017
Attorney Kamal Nawash
Nawash Law Office

The Government of Washington DC has put a stop to landlords who charge excessive late fees when tenants are late with their rent.

According to the new law, late fees are limited to 5% of the rent due by a tenant and the written lease agreement must inform the tenant of the maximum amount of late fee that may be charged.

The landlord cannot charge a late fee until five days have passed from the first day of the month. In other words, there must be a 5-day grace period before the late fee is applied.

A landlord cannot charge interest on a late fee and a landlord cannot apply future rent payments to late fees nor can a landlord impose more than one late fee for one late payment.

A landlord cannot evict a tenant on the basis of nonpayment of late fees. As of January 8, 2017, the Landlord and Tenant Court started rejecting any and all late fees.

Landlord's failure to comply can come with harsh penalties. A landlord who knowingly or willfully violates this law is liable for the amount the late fees charged that exceed the permissible late fees, or treble that amount in the event of bad faith. Landlords can also be fined between $100 and $5,000 for each violation.

The law does allow landlords to issue invoices for unpaid late fees. If the tenant does not pay the late fees, the landlord may deduct from the tenant's security deposit at the end of the lease.

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