Does WV limit late fee charges for rental units?

Today I found a column from the University of Minneapolis’ student paper The Minnesota Daily that brings up some good points.

The writer, Courtney Johnson, mentions issues that I notice are a problem in Morgantown, as well:

“One important thing to remember is to never feel rushed when preparing to sign a lease. A lot of times, due to limited availability of off-campus housing around the University, students feel pressured to sign something — anything — as soon as they can. However, while in a frenzy to sign, inexperienced renters might not be aware of all of the expectations placed by landlords.”

I’ve seen people looking at apartments as early as December for the next school year. Sometimes if a student hasn’t found something by late January, they think they’re not going to find anything decent.

More importantly, Johnson mentions this:

“… a law passed through the State of Minnesota legislature, effective Jan. 1, 2011, which states that landlords are not legally able to charge late fees in excess of 8 percent of the overdue rent payment. This new law prevents landlords from overcharging their tenants and is particularly helpful for the inexperienced renter.”

In many cases, the reason a person’s rent is late is because they don’t have the money. So by charging them more money that they don’t have, it’s only making things worse.

I’ve searched West Virginia’s state code for a law regarding late fees, but I didn’t find anything. It’s possible that I’ve overlooked it, but I’ve contacted someone who will know for sure. I’ll update when I hear back.

UPDATE 1/19/12: According to Brian Walker, who works with Commuter Student Programs/Off Campus Housing for West Virginia University’s Office of Student Life, currently “West Virginia does not have a cap on allowable late fees.”



3 thoughts on “Does WV limit late fee charges for rental units?

  1. I’ve been searching around for an answer to a question about late fees online, and found your blog. I am trying to figure out if landlords here in Morgantown are required to bill/invoice/inform tenants of late fees ASAP when the fee is incurred? My previous landlord still has yet to return ANY of my security deposit to me (I moved out nearly a year ago) and told me that it all went to late fees… I called him when my rent was going to be late and he seemed very calm and just told me it would be okay. I took this as him waiving the fee, but now he’s trying to keep my deposit as one giant late fee for the times I was late on paying. I’m trying to decide what I should do. I really don’t want to just give up on the money. I left the place in excellent condition and the security deposit was a pretty substantial amount. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • Amanda,
      When you moved out, your landlord was required to provide you with an invoice within a month that stated what money was taken out of your security deposit and why. Did he give you anything like this, or has he just told you that on the phone? Also, if you’re a student at WVU, you should contact Student Legal Services. Let me know if you have any other questions, and I’ll see what I can find out.

  2. hi, i rent an apartment in martinburg wv. and my landlord has not givin me a lease to sign yet. i have lived here for 3 months and was 6 days late paying my rent for 2 months in a row and he is charging me 100 dollars for each month i was late. can he do that when i never even signed an agreement?

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