Q: I have come up with a way to motivate people to pay their rent on time, and I'm wondering if it's legal. In addition to my late fee, I'd like to say that tenants may not use the laundry facilities or the pool unless they have paid on time. With the summer coming up, this is sure to be an effective motivator. What do you think? --Joe S. A: Undoubtedly you're right -- faced with the prospect of having to spend their weekends at the Laundromat rather than at the pool party, your tenants might make an extra effort to get the rent in on time. But, your solution, while effective, may not be legal. Landlords in all but 12 states are prohibited from changing tenants' door locks, shutting off utilities, removing tenants' property, or otherwise engaging in what's known as "self-hel...
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