I was two months late on rent for my business' store front. I received a certified letter demanding payment in full in 10 days or the landlord would begin eviction processes. I promptly paid the past due rent, in full, plus all late fees. I then got a letter from the landlord stating " Please find, enclosed, and invoice for reimbursement for legal fees, in order to bring your account current. Please remit the amount of $3xxx.xx (three thousand and some) made payable to (landlord) and send by over night attention to (landlord). This amount must be paid in full within 10 days from the date of this letter to avoid further legal action.
The only "legal action" that took place was the failure to pay rent on my part, and the certified letter demanding payment of past due rent. The question: Is this demand for reimbursement for "legal fees" with threat of further legal action if payment is not made in 10 days, a legal demand? Can they do this to me?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Your written lease controls your responsibilities. The lease would need to be reviewed to know whether these charges are appropriate. The amount of the bill may also be subject to collateral attack, but if your lease allows these to be considered additional rental, you need to be very concerned about this notice. Seek legal advice with all your paperwork
If you paid within the 10 days it should a valid defense to any lawsuit. Review your lease agreement.