One of my tenants had his identity stolen and has his funds frozen. I don't think he's bluffing because he said he could get the money within a week and has been a good tenant thus far. I sympathize for him, but would you waive the late fee? It's my understanding that if you waive it once, you can't legally enforce it in the future.
On a related note, the tenant is one of four roommates in a coach house splitting the rent evenly. So his portion is $550 of the $2,200. Since tenants are jointly & severally liable, his fee would be based off of the $2,200 and not the $550, correct?
Since lease is joint and several, why are they paying separately? If you have them all sign one lease, one person pays you the full amount. With this, they have to deal with the problem not you.
Regarding your original question: You'll get both responses from the BP community. I'd guess they will lean towards still charging the late fee. I suppose a good compromise would be asking for proof of account freeze, and it will be waived. If no proof is provided, late fee is enforced.
If this has been a good tenant, always paid on time and can prove the identity theft happened, I would be leaning towards being flexible and not charging the late fee.
If you have to charge late fee to avoid not being able to enforce this in the future, you can charge the late fee and give the tenant a gift card to the local grocery store or something like that. If you explain you have to charge the late fee for set reason but you sympathize with the tenant and want to "make up" for the late fee, I'm sure he'll appreciate it and will remember that when the lease is up and needs to be renewed.
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