Under the current law, late fees cannot be charged before 30 days. This is tantamount to making them illegal. A responsible landlord would have their tenant in court by then. Massachusetts law does not align with best practices in other states.
- Related Page: Massachusetts Late Fee Law
- External Link: Landlordology State-by-State Comparison of Late Fees
A long late fee period is contrary to the public interest. Landlords need to create incentives for timely payment, but they have no other tool short of eviction. Eviction is stressful to both tenant and landlord. It also burdens the courts.
Maine has the second longest late fee period of any state, and is half as long as Massachusetts. Most states have no regulation on late fees.
Late fees are standard practice in many industries, including with mortgages, insurance, and credit cards. Imposing a late fee produces less of an adversarial relationship than foreclosing on a mortgage, canceling insurance, or revoking a credit card.
Massachusetts should align itself with best practice in other states and eliminate regulation on landlord-tenant late fees. Whatever both parties freely agree to in the rental agreement should be allowed.