Q: I sent my tenant a 5-day notice for non-payment of rent, but the tenant has not yet received it and now wants to pay the rent without the $35 notice fee. If they haven’t received it, can I still charge the notice fee?

A: Before even worrying about the facts of this case, the first question is whether you have a notice fee provided for in your lease. A landlord can only charge reasonable fees or charges if they are provided in the written lease. Therefore, if you want to charge a $35 notice fee for whenever you have to serve a 5-day Notice of Nonpayment of Rent, you need to include such language in your lease. Now turning to your question, if you already took the time preparing the notice and have proof that it was certified mailed to the tenant, then yes you can likely charge the $35 fee (if its provided for in your lease). The charge is to cover your administrative and actual costs associated with the tenant’s failing to pay and you having to mail the notice. Therefore, it doesn’t matter that they haven’t received it yet, you properly sent it according to the law and according to your lease, you are entitled to the notice fee.

by Mark B. Zinman, Williams, Zinman & Parham P.C

Information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should always contact an attorney for legal advice and not rely on information published here.