Q: Our apartment forgot to charge us for the garage in the lease but still gave us access. Can they ask for money later?
Our apartment gave us access to our garage, but we noticed this month that they aren't charging us for it. I looked through our lease and they never added on the additional fee for renting a garage. We aren't planning to mention it to them since this isn't the first time they have screwed up since moving in. If they notice the mistake, can they demand us to pay it back?
Thanks for your time!
Your relationship with your landlord is partially controlled by state law, but the relationship is mostly controlled by the agreement you signed with them. Usually agreements are prepared in haste and are often missing things that leave issues that are important to you in limbo.
In this case, can the landlord demand payment for past use of the garage? If the agreement both parties signed states how much the cost will be, but they failed to collect payment, there is a very real possibility that they could demand the amount you agreed upon to be paid retroactively. If this is the case, at a minimum, you will want to set aside the funds expected in case they ask for it.
If the agreement makes no mention of it, then the answer to your question is less than sure. The law between tenants and landlords gives both sides rights. But the tenant's rights are tightly tied to making sure you pay the rent on time each month. I always encourage tenants to keep paying their rent while they pursue a problem with the landlord.
Is the garage cost part of the rent, or is it a separate service that can be cancelled by either party at any time? If it were deemed to be part of the rent, then you would be found to have not paid your rent on time. That might lead to late fees, and if you didn't pay the late fees and the unpaid rent, the landlord could pursue an eviction in court.
Those are all things to think about, but look to the contract for most of your answers. Good luck!
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