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What’s next for late fees

Synopsis

With a new law affecting late fees taking effect September 1, here’s a look at the steps the Texas Apartment Association is taking to help members prepare for a smooth transition.


Key takeaways

  • The new late fee law is effective for leases entered into or renewed on or after September 1, 2019.
  • TAA is revising lease language to comply with the new law. The TAA Board will consider new language at its Summer Board meeting in mid-July and the new leases will be available when the law takes effect.
  • TAA is offering members a free legal webinar on August 7 at 10 a.m. to do a deep dive on complying with the new law.
  • Check TAA publications and the association’s website for legal articles and other resources.

The Texas Apartment Association successfully advocated for changes to the state’s late fees law to provide more certainty for both members and residents. This was must-pass legislation for our members, given the rash of class action lawsuits filed in recent years and the resulting exposure for rental property operators.

The new legislation takes effect September 1, 2019—which means it will apply to any leases entered into or renewed on or after that date. With that in mind, TAA is putting together the resources members will need to understand the changes to the law, and make informed decisions about how to proceed under the new legislation.

Lease revisions

All TAA leases will be revised and available by September 1 to reflect the new legislation, which among other things, adds an additional “grace” day before late fees may be charged. The TAA Board of Directors will consider these changes at its mid-July meeting, and leases will be available on TAA Click & Lease September 1. Local associations will also have the option to print paper leases on demand for members who are not using Click & Lease. (Note the Board will also consider and approve additional lease changes during the fall Board of Directors meeting. Those changes will accommodate any other legislative changes that take effect in January, as well as any changes recommended to reflect current operating procedures.)

Late fees webinar

TAA will host a free webinar on August 7 for members, to explain the new legislation and review operational changes and options presented by the new legislation. The webinar will be instructed by TAA General Counsel Sandy Garcia Hoy and TAA Of Counsel Bill Warren.

The 75-minute webinar, which begins at 10 a.m. Central, will cover:

  • What can you charge as a late fee?
  • When can you first charge a late fee?
  • How can you avoid potential liability for your late fee charges?
  • What does your lease need to say about late fees?
  • What additional information about late fees are residents entitled to?
  • How do changes affect late fees assessed before and after September 1?

Learn more about the webinar and register here. 

REDBOOK Online, TAA REDBOOK

Late fees information in the TAA REDBOOK Online will also be revised prior to September 1, and the new published version of the TAA REDBOOK, available in February 2020, will also include this information.

In the interim, look for additional information in TAA publications and on the TAA website. You can read more about the late fees legislation in our special Legislative Update edition of Viewpoints here.

More from June/July 2019 Member Newsletter

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