Q: Last September, I was unable to pay my rent ($1,000 per month), and incurred a late fee of $100. I paid all of October’s rent, and every month’s rent from that time onward, but I wasn’t able to pay September’s rent until now. I’ve just paid it, by paying double this month, and my landlord tells me that I owe him $1,000 in late fees — $100 for each of the 10 months that September’s rent remained unpaid. Is this legal? –Amy P.
A: Your landlord’s way of doing business is quite strange. Most landlords would never allow a tenant to remain on the property for months after failing to pay an entire month’s rent, let alone the late fee. They would send a notice to pay or quit, and if the tenant remained, they’d evict and use the deposit to cover both the unpaid rent and the late fee.