When Is a Rent Late Fee Excessive?

Texas Law Protects Renters From Unreasonable Rent Late Fees

The Texas Property Code places limits on late fees a landlord can assess tenants. In general, a landlord may not charge a tenant a late fee for failing to pay rent unless (a) notice of the fee is included in a written lease, (b) the fee is a reasonable estimate of uncertain damages to the landlord, and (c) the rent has remained unpaid one full day after the date the rent was originally due.

A landlord who violates the property code is liable to the tenant for (a) three times the amount of the late fee, (b) a $100 statutory penalty, and (c) attorney fees and costs.

Any provision in a lease that purports to exempt a landlord from a liability or duty under this law is void.

The law covers routine situations where a tenant pays rent, but does so a few days late, and the landlord charges and collects an excessive late rent fee as a result.

A landlord may not retaliate against a tenant who asserts her rights under the Texas property Code. If they do, the law provides a new right to sue for retaliation (What if the Landlord Retaliates?)

For More Information About Your Legal Options

The Monts Firm in Austin handles rent late fee cases throughout Texas, including Austin, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. Call 512-474-6092 or send us an email for a confidential consultation with an experienced lawyer. There is no cost to renters.