What if Your Landlord Overcharges for Area Maintenance? | Learn About Law

What if Your Landlord Overcharges for Area Maintenance? | Learn About Law

In this video, we explain what to do if your #landlord is #overcharging you for common area maintenance in Illinois. In many commercial leases, tenants are required to pay a share of taxes, utilities, and common area maintenance charges (“CAM”). This “additional rent” will fluctuate from year to year. It’s not uncommon for landlords to overcharge their tenants for CAM. This is referred to as Common Area Maintenance Fraud.

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I’m Attorney Robert Flessas. Part of my practice in Wisconsin includes landlord representation. This video is intended to provide useful information not only for landlords, but provides an eye opening realization for tenants too.

Let’s start with the legal agreement that is created between a landlord and a tenant. When a landlord and tenant enter into a lease, they are making promises to each other.

The landlord promises to provide housing to the tenant. The tenant promises to pay rent to the landlord.

A common fault committed by landlords is that they allow tenants to get away with not paying their rent, sometimes for months.

By not paying rent, a tenant faces an eviction that permanently appears on the public court records, which affects their ability to obtain housing in the future.

Let’s briefly look at each issue.

Tenant’s will cite reasons like unexpected healthcare bills, unexpected auto repairs, or having to use their money to get caught up on utilities.

This usually results in the landlord giving the tenant a break, telling the tenant that they can get caught up the following month.

Before long, the tenant owes 3 months of rent.

The Landlord, after the third month of no rent, calls an attorney and the eviction process begins by delivering a 5-day notice to the tenant telling them to pay the rent or vacate the unit.

For a landlord, they waited too long to serve the tenant with a notice.

On the tenant side, the tenant ignores the notice, doesn’t pay and the eviction is filed. This creates a bad situation for a tenant because now, public court records show that an eviction was filed against the tenant.

By the way, eviction court records are searched by landlords when a prospective tenant applies for a unit. That record tells another landlord that you have a history of not paying rent.

Now, the landlord is going to lose 4 month’s rent based upon the time the tenant strung the landlord out, and the time it takes to serve the tenant with eviction papers and waiting for the court date, removing the tenant, preparing the unit for a new tenant, and re-renting the unit.

For landlords, the better way to handle a delinquent tenant is as follows.

In Wisconsin, when the deadline to pay rent passes on the first delinquency, the landlord must deliver a 5-day notice to the tenant, giving the tenant a short period of time to pay.

If the deadline passes, then the landlord should spend the money to proceed with an eviction to force payment, cut off the compassion spigot, and avoid losing months of rent.

If you’re a tenant, you probably think this message is really mean and ruthless.

Well, it’s not. Think about it.

The landlord upheld their promise. The tenant, by failing to pay rent, did not.

Once the tenant receives the landlord’s 5-day notice, the ball is in the tenant’s court.

If the tenant pays within the notice period, the crisis is over. If the tenant needs a few more days past the notice period, the landlord can grant additional time.

But at minimum, the landlord, by timely delivering notice to the tenant when the first instance of delinquency occurs, the landlord is protected. They shouldn’t wait.

Tenant’s should avoid non-payment. If there is a problem paying rent, the tenant should contact the landlord immediately. Don’t wait! Make payment arrangements, and follow through with your promise.

Rentals are a business transaction between a landlord and tenant. Just like a tenant, a landlord has bills to pay too. Failure to follow through with your promise results in a bad financial ending for both.

If you found this video helpful, please consider subscribing to my channel.

I’m Attorney Robert Flessas. Thanks for watching.

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landlord legal advice

12 thoughts on “What if Your Landlord Overcharges for Area Maintenance? | Learn About Law”

  1. I live in ri housing apartments I always give my landlord what they ask for on September 2019 I paid 48 dollars because I didn’t have an income then when I started to work I went to the office and tried to talk to the manager but she was busy with a client so she gave me her email address and said to email any information to her so I emailed my first paystub to her and never got an answer back from her so I ended up going back I asked her if they were going to call me so I can know how much rent I was supposed to pay she said yes never received a call from the office so I go in to sign my lease on October 11 2019 to me I was supposed to start paying rent after I sign the new lease agreement then last week I received a mail notice saying I owe 996.00 dollars which is September and October rent and if I don’t pay I’m going to court and I might get evicted I have a 8 year old daughter I raise on my own and many bills I wouldn’t do anything to get myself evicted what can I do

  2. What I pay rent ever month to step mother a room and pay half water, light and half cable and gote received from her every month and did give more money call adult protect.service and them children protect service on me because money . I lean to live with family 🗣️😠😵👩😤😖

  3. What if you are a faithful tenant of 15 years have never missed a month's payment ever have records of it and your landlord gives you a 30 day notice and will not return your calls what can you do as a tenant to protect yourself and get more time

  4. I wasn't notified of a court date. My wife and I are disabled an I got a sheriff notice to vacate in 6 days.! We are several months behind after paying our rent early for 20 years . We are behind because my wife had two major operations and I'm on FMLA. I'm working and now she just started a job so we called the rental office and offered to pay a thousand dollars a week until caught up. They said yes but I get this letter from the sherif to vacate the day after. It was just unfortunate the circumstances that led us here but now we are moving toward getting on our feet .

    Please is there anyone else out there who can help us in Woburn, Ma. We can't afford an attorney .It will be snowing within the next two and a half months here and we will die in our car for sure. There are no nearby shelters and we don't meet the property threshold. Bumps in the road of life must happen the the agar age working person so I don't understand why there's so much charity for those who don't work. Can you help?

  5. Our apartments are trying to evict us we paid rent and they sent our payment back and now they say we have to pay two months by the 8th or we will be evicted we paid what we owed again now but are struggling to pay for this months rent before the 8th or we have court that day what should we do they did say anything about sending our rent payment back

  6. Is there a website that we landlords can use to check potentials Tenants background to see of they have been in court before for not paying rent ?

  7. This is so sad. Im from a suburb near chicago and I have aggressive Tenants that havent payed rent 🙁 they are very scary and I have no idea how this is going to go for me an my mom.

  8. Landlord law is so pro-business and anti-consumer. I once got removed from housing when both the new property owners and the federal government broke the lease. I never broke the lease. Tried taking them to court and court sided with new landlord (which I had never signed a lease with). Also the old owners still had a one year lease with me for $0 dollars per month (USDA subsidy) . The old owner would also be breaking that lease. Thats three business entities breaking lease , yet I was forced out.

  9. Two things. First as a lawyer, could you not get yourself a nicer shirt? Second, dark grey shirt with black background equals floating head syndrome. The video is quite informative though!

  10. I’m being taken to court for January and haven’t paid February yet, could they still evict me for not paying February?

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