Q: can a landlord deduct late charges 1-4yrs after rent dates to deduct from deposit after move out
my now former landlord has sent me a list of deduction from the deposit, some of them being an accumulation of late charges from late rent payments, he never at those times asked or sent me letters to make payment, he was always flexible asking for just communication. now that i have decided not to resign after 4 yrs he is attempting to deduct them from the deposit. it does stated in the lease $20 after the 4th of the month but he never asked for them at those times and cashed the full rent checks when he received them
A: Generally, landlords are able to deduct late charges from security deposit funds after a tenant moves, and they don't need to give any notice that the late fee is owed it because the lease indicates that it is owed. ARS s. 33-1321(D) ("security may be applied to the payment of all rent, and subject to a landlord's duty to mitigate, all charges as specified in the signed lease agreement, or as provided in this chapter, including the amount of damages which the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with section 33-1341. ") The the list of itemized deductions is the tenant's notice. See ARS s. 33-1321(D).
On the other hand, acceptance of a partial payment without acknowledging a right to collect the late fee as rent may constitute waiver of the late fee as additional rent. See ARS s. 33-1371. Of course, the answer to your question is highly dependent on a review of your lease. A consultation with a lawyer may cost more than the late fees. Nevertheless, you have the right to file an action for breach of the lease against your landlord in Justice Court, if you feel the landlord has improperly withheld money from your deposit. You can represent yourself.
Again, your question is very hard to answer with any certainty without reviewing the lease.
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