Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Ohio

How many late fees or what is the maximum amount that a apartment complex can tack on in one month .


Asked on 2/16/15, 3:00 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Eric Willison Law Office of Eric E. Willison

In Ohio, there are limits on late fees. First, if the landlord does not move to collect unpaid late fees as soon as they become due, he waives them. Thus, under Ohio law, a landlord cannot let late fees build up for 8 months in a row, then bring an eviction action and try to collect 8 late fees. The case on this is Habbeger v. Paul, from the 6th District Court of Appeals: "A party may voluntarily relinquish a known right through words or by conduct. State ex rel. Ford v. Cleveland Bd. of Edn. (1943), 141 Ohio St. 124, 25 Ohio Op. 241, 47 N.E.2d 223. In Galaxy Development Ltd. Partnership v. Quadax, Inc. (Oct. 5, 2000), Cuy. App. No. 76769, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 4651, the Eighth District Court of Appeals found that the landlord waived its right to collect holdover rent from the tenant by continuing to accept the original rental payments after expiration of the lease. The Galaxy court cited Finkbeiner v. Lutz (1975), 44 Ohio App.2d 223, 337 N.E.2d 655, wherein lessees failed to make timely payments of rent on numerous occasions and lessors accepted the late payments. The Finkbeiner [**10] court held that the failure of the lessors to make timely objection to the late payment of rent amounted to a waiver.

[*P20] Upon consideration of the foregoing, this court finds that the trial court properly determined that appellant waived his right to collect the late fees upon eviction by continuing to accept appellees' rent payments and not pursuing eviction until approxi-mately 14 months after the first late payment. Accordingly, appellant's second assignment of error is not well taken."

As for a single late fee, Ohio's 11th Dist. Ct. of Appeals held that: "We conclude that an agreed upon, one-time late fee, that is reasonable in proportion to the rental rate, and that has a rationale [*7] basis supporting the imposition of the charge, is proper. This determination of whether such a fee imposed or agreed upon by the parties is reasonable rests within the sound discretion of the trier of fact."

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Answered on 2/16/15, 8:36 pm


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