The maximum amount of late fees landlords can charge for residential leases is determined by Maryland State law. This amount may be lowered by either local law or by contract. But it can never be greater than this amount.
What Is The Maximum Amount of Late Fees a Residential Landlord Can Charge According to Maryland Law?
Maryland Real Property Code Section 8-208 states what must (an must not) be included in Maryland lease agreements.
Section (3)(i) limits late fees to 5% of the amount of the rental period for which the payment was delinquent. Interestingly for weekly leases, which no one does, landlords cannot charge more than $3 per week or $12 per month.
Are Written Leases Required To Enforce Late Fees?
Yes. Maryland Judges will not enforce rent in general unless it is in a valid written lease agreement. Oral leases are valid in Maryland but landlords that rely on oral agreements are setting themselves up for failure. Don’t do it.
Is There A Mandatory Grace Period Before I Can Charge A Late Fee?
Maryland does not have a mandatory grace period but many jurisdictions do. For example:
- The Prince George’s County Code Landlord-Tenant Regulations Section 13-158 imposes a mandatory 5 day grace period before charging late fees;
- The Montgomery County Landlord Tenant Regulations Article IV Section 29 – 27 requires landlords to wait ten days before charging a late fee.
What Happens If A Landlord Violates State Law and Charges Excessive Late Fees In Maryland?
Maryland Real Property Code Section 8-208(g)(1) makes it so that illegal lease provisions such as excessive late fee provisions are unenforceable by the landlord. Section (g)(2) goes onto state that a tenant may recover actual damages including reasonable attorneys fees if their landlord attempts to enforce an illegal lease clause
Do You Need Help With A Late Fee Clause or Collecting Late Fees? Are The Fees You Being Charged Excessive?
Do. not hesitate to contact us. If you’re a landlord we’ll be happy to help you make sure your lease is complaint with State and Local law. We can also help enforce your lease agreement by filing for failure to pay rent. For tenants, we can assist you with a demand letter to educate your landlord and resolve a late fee dispute outside of Court.