Portland, OR asked in Landlord - Tenant for Oregon

Q: My landlord is charging a $195 late fee for rent (they cashed my check a day before the check was dated on the 4th)

This was prior to September 30th 2020 and now they sent a letter threatening to send me to collections if the fee isn’t paid within 30 days. Does the current Oregon moratorium not protect me?

FYI, a check to a PO Box via check is the only way the take payment. Otherwise I’d used a different method to payment. Also, my rent is $1025.00

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1 Lawyer Answer
Gregory L Abbott
Gregory L Abbott
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: You may wish to review everything with a local landlord-tenant attorney since it appears you likely have claims against your landlord for damages. First, it is unlawful to charge, attempt to charge, or attempt to collect a late fee during the Covid pandemic in Oregon. It is illegal for a landlord to send unpaid late fees during Covid to collections. I don't understand your reference to being charged a late fee before the fifth day of the month, presuming rent is due on the 1st. A tenant has a 4 day grace period before a landlord may consider rent "late" and charge a late fee. The amount of the late fee is questionable to me as well. All in all, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages, plus your court costs plus your attorney's fees all from the landlord if your claims pan out as well as they appear to in your posting. So do see an attorney. It is the sort of case which an attorney might well represent you on a contingency whereby you would not owe the attorney anything for their time beyond the initial evaluation interview. Rather they would count on collecting their fees from the landlord upon either prevailing or settling the case (highly likely once the landlord figures out that he is ultimately paying for both his attorney and yours - so how long does he want to argue at the combined attorney fee rate of $600-$800 per hour or more? Good luck.

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