A couple months ago, I had a lot going on. In my frenzy, I forgot to pay a couple of credit card payments on time. When I realized I missed the deadline on the first one, I made a call and pleaded with the company rep to not hit me with a huge late fee. I was normally super responsible, always on time, had a good track record with the company, etc. Surprisingly, she gave me a pass.
I wasn't so lucky the second time. The bill was on my desk, but ended up under a pile of stuff. It was missed until the day after the odd due date. Again, I made the call, but the rep wasn't feeling it.
While it's true that everyone misses a bill now and then, there are many who are simply chronic late-payers. You know the type. They always seem to have a reason.
Deb T initiated an interesting discussion on Self-Storage Talk about late fees—specifically how much should you charge and when. While a few facilities overlock on the 6th day after a missed payment, many wait 30 or more days. The fees also run the gamut, from the simple $10 late fee to the more expensive $50 auction fees.
Autodoc writes about California's strict rules regarding late fees:
- Rent is due on the 1st
- Late fee of $10 charged on the 11th
- $10 pre-lien fee charged on the 21st
- $10 lien fee charged on the 45th day
- $50 auction fee charged when the listing goes to the paper (no earlier then 63 days late)
- The late fee can be charged every month—pre-lien and lien fees can only be charged once.
Of course, this will vary by state so you should check with your attorney to make sure you're on the right side of the law. ALL your fees should also be CLEAR in your rental agreement to avoid any squabbles with tenants claiming they didn't know.
Join the Self-Storage Talk discussion and share your thoughts.