Late Fees

Most lease agreements state that rent is due on a specific date. Sometimes, the actual due date and the date when late fees will begin to be charged is different. The Texas Property Code, Section 92.019, states that a landlord may not charge a tenant a late fee for failing to pay rent unless:

  1. Notice of the fee is included in a written lease;
  2. The late fee is a reasonable estimate of damages to the landlord as a result of the late payment of rent; and
  3. The rent remains unpaid one full day after the date the rent was originally due. This means that if the lease states that rent is due on the first, the landlord could not charge a late fee until the third.

If the landlord violates this law, the tenant can recover $100, three times the amount of the late fee wrongfully charged, and reasonable attorney’s fees. Any provision in the rental lease that purports to waive a right or exempt a party from liability or duty of the late fee requirements is void.

Effective January 1, 2008.

Austin Tenants’ Council • 1640-B East 2nd Street • Austin, TX 78702 • 512.474.7006