Late Fee Laws By State 2020

Landlords and tenants set forth agreed-upon terms when signing a lease or rental agreement. In order to protect the landlord and assure that the tenant pays their rent on time, the landlord will typically include a late fee in the lease or rental agreement. A late fee must be explicitly stated in the agreement in order for it to be legally forced upon the tenant.

The timeframes to charge late fees vary but are typically when rent is three (3) or more days late and then increased late fees are applied when rent is 10 or more days late. Reasonable late fees are typically no more than 5% of the total rent when rent is three or more days late and may be increased to, but should not exceed, 10% of the rent when rent is 10 or more days late.

Most states do not specifically address late fees written in law. For those states that do not have specific laws regarding late fees, it is best to follow the aforementioned guidelines. Twenty-eight states do not have laws regarding late fees and 22 states and the District of Columbia do have laws regarding late fees.

Late Fee Laws by State

Arizona

Late fees must be outlined in a written lease or rental agreement and must be reasonable.

California

Late fees will only be enforced if the landlord includes specified language in a written lease or rental agreement. The late fee must be a reasonable estimation of how much the late rent costs the landlord.

Connecticut

Late fees cannot be applied until after the rent is nine (9) days late.

Delaware

Late fees cannot be more than 5% of the rent and cannot be imposed until after the rent is five (5) days. The landlord must maintain an office in the county where the rental unit is located here tenants can pay rent in order to charge a late fee. If the landlord does not have an office in the same county, the tenant has three extra days to pay rent before the landlord can charge a late fee.

District of Columbia

The lease or rental agreement must have specified language regarding late fees. Late fees cannot be more than 5% of the rent and cannot be imposed until after the rent is at least five (5) days late. The tenant cannot be evicted for failure to pay late fees. The landlord can deduct unpaid fees from the security deposit at the end of the tenancy.

Georgia

Georgia does not have any specific statutes regarding late fees; however, Georgia law states that all contracts for rent bear interest from the time rent is due.

Iowa

When rent is $700 or less per month, late fees cannot exceed $12 per day or a total amount of $60 per month. When rent is over $700 per month, late fees cannot exceed $20 per day or a total amount of $100 per month.

Maine

Late fees cannot exceed 4% of the amount due for 30 days. Notification of late fees must be given to tenants in writing at the beginning of the tenancy. Late fees cannot be imposed until rent is 15 days late.

Maryland

Late fees cannot exceed 5% of the rent due.

Massachusetts

Late fees cannot be imposed until the rent is 30 days late. This includes interest on late rent.

Minnesota

The lease or rental agreement must have specified language regarding late fees. Late fees cannot exceed 8% of the rent. The “due date” for late fees does not include a date earlier than the usual rent due date.

Nevada

A court will presume that there is no late fee penalty unless it is included in the written lease or rental agreement. The late fee must be reasonable and cannot exceed 5% of the periodic rent. The maximum amount of the late fee must not be increased based upon a late fee that was previously imposed.

New Hampshire

The lease or rental agreement must have specified language regarding late fees. The landlord cannot demand an amount greater than the whole rent in balances due when rent is late.

New Jersey

The landlord must wait five (5) days before charging a late fee when the tenant(s) is (are) a senior citizen receiving Social Security Old Age Pensions, Railroad Retirement Pensions, or other government pensions in lieu of Social Security Old Age Pensions; or when the tenants are recipients of Social Security Disability Benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or benefits under Work First New Jersey.

New Mexico

The lease or rental agreement must include specified language regarding late fees. Late fees may not exceed 10% of the rent. The landlord must notify the tenant of the landlord’s intent to impose a late fee no later than the last day of the next rental period immediately following the period in which the default occurred.

New York

The landlord must wait at least five (5) days after the rent due date before imposing a late fee. Late fees may not exceed 5% of the rent or $50, whichever is less.

North Carolina

The landlord must wait at least five (5) days after the rent due date before imposing a late fee. If rent is due monthly, late fees cannot be higher than $15 or 5% of the rent, whichever is greater. If rent is due weekly, late fees cannot be higher than $4.00 or 5% of the rent, whichever is greater. A late fee may be imposed only once for each late rental payment. A late fee for a specific late rental payment may not be deducted from a subsequent rental payment to cause the subsequent payment to be in default.

Oklahoma

Preset late fees are invalid.

Oregon

The lease or rental agreement must disclose specific language regarding late fees. The landlord must wait at least four (4) days after the rent due date before imposing a late fee. A flat late fee must be reasonable. A daily late fee may not be more than 6% of a reasonable flat fee and cannot add up to more than 5% of the monthly rent.

Tennessee

The landlord must wait at least five (5) days after the rent due date before imposing a late fee. The day the rent is due counts as the first date. If the fifth day is a Sunday or a legal holiday, the landlord cannot charge a late fee if the rent is paid on the following business day.

Texas

The lease or rental agreement must disclose specific language regarding late fees. The landlord must wait at least two (2) days after the rent due date to charge a late fee. Late fees must be reasonable. For properties with four or fewer units, late fees cannot be more than 12% of the rent; for properties with more than four units, late fees cannot be more than 10% of the rent; OR late fees must be related to the late payment of rent/what it costs the landlord for rent to be late (expenses, costs, and overhead associated with collection of late payment). The landlord must charge an initial fee and a daily fee for each day the rent is late; the combined fees are considered a single late fee. Tenants can ask landlords to provide statement of whether they owe late fees.

Virginia

When the landlord has not offered a written lease, a tenancy of twelve months is created by law. Late fees must be reasonable and may be imposed when rent is five (5) or more days late.

Washington

Non-refundable fees must be written in the lease or rental agreement or they will be considered deposits.

For the most detailed and accurate explanations of your state’s late fee laws, consult your state’s specific laws or contact an attorney.

Late Fee Laws By State 2020

State 2020 Pop. 2020 Growth
Alabama4,908,6210.42%
Alaska734,002-0.47%
Arizona7,378,4942.88%
Arkansas3,038,9990.84%
California39,937,4890.96%
Colorado5,845,5262.63%
Connecticut3,563,077-0.27%
Delaware982,8951.63%
District of Columbia720,6872.60%
Florida21,992,9853.26%
Georgia10,736,0592.06%
Hawaii1,412,687-0.55%
Idaho1,826,1564.10%
Illinois12,659,682-0.64%
Indiana6,745,3540.80%
Iowa3,179,8490.75%
Kansas2,910,357-0.04%
Kentucky4,499,6920.70%
Louisiana4,645,184-0.32%
Maine1,345,7900.55%
Maryland6,083,1160.67%
Massachusetts6,976,5971.08%
Michigan10,045,0290.49%
Minnesota5,700,6711.59%
Mississippi2,989,2600.09%
Missouri6,169,2700.70%
Montana1,086,7592.30%
Nebraska1,952,5701.21%
Nevada3,139,6583.47%
New Hampshire1,371,2461.09%
New Jersey8,936,5740.31%
New Mexico2,096,6400.06%
New York19,440,469-0.52%
North Carolina10,611,8622.20%
North Dakota761,7230.22%
Ohio11,747,6940.50%
Oklahoma3,954,8210.30%
Oregon4,301,0892.63%
Pennsylvania12,820,8780.11%
Rhode Island1,056,161-0.11%
South Carolina5,210,0952.48%
South Dakota903,0272.36%
Tennessee6,897,5761.88%
Texas29,472,2952.68%
Utah3,282,1153.83%
Vermont628,0610.28%
Virginia8,626,2071.27%
Washington7,797,0953.47%
West Virginia1,778,070-1.54%
Wisconsin5,851,7540.66%
Wyoming567,025-1.85%