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Question about CA rental law.

By Onvacation following x   2018 Apr 18, 9:41pm 476 views   20 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    


I have leased (month to month) a slip for my sailboat in Alameda County for the last 12 years. It is only a couple hundred dollars a month. I have my credit union send them a check around the first. Some months a little before and some months a little after the first. I am not on autopay but I always pay.

A couple of years ago a previous manager told me I missed paying for a month. I asked him which month, he told me, and I showed him the canceled check. He then said it must have been some other month. I showed him proof of payment for the last couple of years and never heard from him again.

This year the marina has a new manager and she says I owe them the money. I told her the story and she said she would look into it.

Today I received an invoice for "accumulated late fees". In the invoice was record of when they received my checks from the credit union for the last three years.

After each payment they received after the 5th there is a $10 late fee. All but two of the late payments were received on the 6th. The other two were on the 8th and 9th.

Bottom line on invoice $205. Penciled in on top of six page invoice "accumulated late fees and late payments".

Is this even legal?
1   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Apr 18, 10:07pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Just pay it and get it over with. It's not a lot.
2   Onvacation   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 18, 10:09pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

At what price do we fight extortion?
3   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Apr 18, 10:12pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

If the rules call for a penalty exceeding 5 days, you will be penalized. Fighting it might cost you a lot more. You decide.
4   Onvacation   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 18, 10:25pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

AftStrategist says
If the rules call for a penalty exceeding 5 days, you will be penalized.

20 $10 dollar charges After 3 years?!?
I already looked into the law a little and I don't think they can retroactively notify me of late fees.Strategist says
Fighting it might cost you a lot more.

$205 is $205. I don't plan on hiring a lawyer.

Thanks Strat.

Anyone out there with knowledge of the pertinent laws.
5   Strategist   ignore (1)   2018 Apr 18, 11:17pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Onvacation says
AftStrategist says
If the rules call for a penalty exceeding 5 days, you will be penalized.

20 $10 dollar charges After 3 years?!?
I already looked into the law a little and I don't think they can retroactively notify me of late fees.Strategist says
Fighting it might cost you a lot more.

$205 is $205. I don't plan on hiring a lawyer.

Thanks Strat.

Anyone out there with knowledge of the pertinent laws.


The payments you make after a penalty goes to the penalty first. That ends up making you late every month.
6   Onvacation   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 19, 6:13am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

If they had told me i was late and had a late fee three years ago i would have asked for a waiver or paid the $10 and made sure I was never late again. Instead they regularly took my payment on the sixth without telling me I was late. I now have $205 in late fees.

I can afford to pay but feel cheated. Do I have any options?
7   Quigley   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 19, 6:52am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

It’s legal cheating. Gotta watch these suckers or they will cheat you will the full force of the law. Just like credit card companies, banks, store credit accounts, payday lenders, mortgage holders, landlords, and a plethora of related parasites. It’s best to not acquire such parasites in the first place, but if you must, be sure that your payments are early.
8   WookieMan   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 19, 7:07am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Onvacation says
If they had told me i was late and had a late fee three years ago i would have asked for a waiver or paid the $10 and made sure I was never late again. Instead they regularly took my payment on the sixth without telling me I was late. I now have $205 in late fees.


I have zero idea about this type of law to be honest. Common sense would say they would have had to bill you within a reasonable period of time. If you get a physical paper bill monthly and the original late fee is from years ago, I have a hard time believe they're able to collect. They should have included that in the monthly bill you received. Like most leases though, I'd be surprised if you were getting a monthly bill. If you do though, just go to them and show them all the bills and ask why they hadn't billed you the original late fee, but it's now okay to bill you monthly late fees because of one late payment? How were you supposed to know? (I know, I know, personal responsibility and all. I'm sure everyone here has paid every single bill their entire life on time.)

As others and as you've said, not worth fighting it, but I think fighting it is the only option to make it go away. They likely know this and probably do this to a lot of people. At least in Chicago, the Marinas on Lake Michigan are owned by the city, but managed by a 3rd party vendor. If that's the case in your marina, I'd try to find the city/municipal contact that deals with that vendor. Might not be easy. But at a minimum I'd at least bitch to them or send them a letter explaining the situation and that the practice seems a bit shady. If others have had the same experience, have them do it too. You'd be surprised how quickly government workers will bend over to make a problem go away so they can do less work.
9   Onvacation   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 19, 7:16am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

WookieMan says
, I'd try to find the city/municipal contact that deals with that vendor.

Good advice.

I was also considering paying in nickels on the fourth of each month to make sure i am never late.

Not sure how much time and money i want to spend on principal but i do think the management needs a little discipline.
More suggestions?
10   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 19, 8:00am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Quigley says
It’s best to not acquire such parasites in the first place, but if you must, be sure that your payments are early.


Yep. Set up auto pay with your bank to pay a week early.

Pay the $205 and move on.

This'll cause you more stress than it's worth fighting these guys.

If you feel like fighting this to prove a point, go for it.
11   FortWayne   ignore (1)   2018 Apr 19, 8:10am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

This. It’s not worth the headache of fighting it.

You should though ask the guy why all of a sudden they are so antagonistic. This comes out of nowhere, wasn't an issue all this time. Why is it an issue now?

Strategist says
If the rules call for a penalty exceeding 5 days, you will be penalized. Fighting it might cost you a lot more. You decide.
12   lostand confused   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 19, 8:13am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Talk tot hem and see if you can negotiate something?
13   P N Dr Lo R   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 19, 8:38am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Onvacation says
made sure I was never late again.
Why would that have been so hard to do in the first place, considering your expensive property? When I lost low-cost garage storage at a residence in Dallas due to a death, I had to immediately begin paying $95/month to store my '53 Cadillac and I made sure it was there on or before the 1st--just part of owning something like that. A nicely run place, one time I was locked out when the manager mistakenly didn't credit my payment. When I called them, they were extremely apologetic and let me in, but I would have raised a row if it had caused me to miss a scheduled car show.

Onvacation says

Do I have any options?
You haven't really been cheated and you could henceforth begin giving this storage the 100% attention it deserves.
14   Malcolm   ignore (1)   2018 Apr 19, 8:42am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Two scenarios:
1. You either paid it and they are charging you in error.
2. You didn't pay it and they are retroactively charging you.

Either way, you need to get it cleared up. They obviously can't charge you if you paid, so don't back down if you are reasonably sure. Get your records together and go through it with them. If they are in the wrong, they are out of luck. You should know that in this case the burden is on you to show that you paid, but the burden is on them to show how those payments were applied and where they claim the discrepancy is. In other words, someone can't accuse you of breaching a lease without being specific.

If they are right, it is pretty crummy to just quietly sit back and let late fees accumulate. I think you would have differing legal opinions, I suspect they have some sort of duty of mitigation, especially if you can show they mislead you into thinking your account was current. Do they send you a monthly statement? Have they ever sent you something to say you were late, during all this time?

This is too small to stress out over it. You either have your records or you don't. I know slips are in short supply, but I doubt that they are really going to be so hard nosed over a long time renter. I'm sure you can work it out with them.
15   lostand confused   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 19, 8:48am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Remember if they decide to send it to a collection agency-your credit will be screwed.
16   Malcolm   ignore (1)   2018 Apr 19, 8:57am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

lostand confused says
Remember if they decide to send it to a collection agency-your credit will be screwed.


If they do, they lose half of the fees. They also have a burden to say exactly where the discrepancy is if he contests it. Also, don't let that be the only reason to pay a bill, if you go to a collection agency it doesn't go straight onto your credit, there is an initial period where one can pay a bill and avoid it showing up.
17   NuttBoxer   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 19, 11:19am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

I don't see it anywhere in here, but the obvious question, when do you have to pay rent by, and what are the stated late fees? Those should be in your contract somewhere. If the charges are legitimate under the lease, does the lease also state they will notify you of late charges? I feel like this is super obvious stuff, but your lease paperwork is your best resource to start with.

I was kind of wondering something similar last night thinking about the city of Chula Vista. They have been billing me for sewer usage over 6 months late. In February I finally received and paid my July/August bill. Seems like there should be a statute of limitations on debt collection, or requirement for timely notification. My payments aren't late, just their bills. But seriously, who the fuck bills someone half a year later!?
18   SFace   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 19, 11:27am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

"In the invoice was record of when they received my checks from the credit union for the last three years.

After each payment they received after the 5th there is a $10 late fee. All but two of the late payments were received on the 6th. The other two were on the 8th and 9th."

The new person obviously checked the record and found room to charge. 5th means the 5th not 6th. It's anal but your only way is to check whether 5th at receipt or 5th when initiated. The month ends on the last day of the month so the 5th already gave 5 days lag and you can't claim weekend or holiday.
19   Automan Empire   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 19, 12:12pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Can you find a comparably priced vacant slip at a competing marina? I understand there are years long waiting lists at some marinas; don't lose your slip over $210 if this is the economics of this particular area of coast.

If there are vacancies all over that will cost you less than $210 over the next year of use to move to, then sure, take a stand on principle if you wish.

You might offer to pay any penalties accrued since the new management company takes over; going back years sounds like greed on their part. A long precedent of not enforcing this rule has been set.
20   Onvacation   ignore (2)   2018 Apr 19, 2:35pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

The consensus seems to be, " pay the bill and get on with life".
Thanks




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