Can a landlord keep late fees from a security deposit?
Question Details: My tenants were late with the rent 4 times during the 1 year lease and there is a $50 late fee for late payments. Can keep $200 from there security deposit?
As a general proposition no. However, if deduction from the SD is separately signed under a properly executed and enforcable non standard rent provision it may be enforceable, also, there is an unpublished case where the rental agreement provided that basically called the late fee additional rent, and as such unpaid rent is generally a proper deduction. I think the ct. of appeals got it wrong, and the case is unpublished which means it has no value, (There was a rule change on unpublished decisions after 2008, where they can be used for certain purposes) The post above is questionable, as the document applies to tenant resource center in Madison, WI where I believe they have more tenant friendly ordinances. Never the less, do not rely on this post, it is for information only, legal matters depend upon both the laws, which may vary between jurisdictions, and municipalities, and are subject to change, therefore you should seek advise from a qualified in the state. ON THAT NOTE CALL AN ATTORNEY, M.D. also stated it may not be worth your time. In many cases if the deduction is improper or if there has been a violation of ATCP 134, the Landlord may become liable for your attorneys fees and double your loss, if you win, so........CALL AN ATTORNEY.
No, you cannot under Wisconsin law. Here's a link to a site that will explain further: http://www.tenantresourcecenter.org/pdf/security_deposits_wisconsin.pdf
In order to collect these fees you would have to take your tenant to small claims court; depending on the amount owed it may not be worth it to you.