Legal Tip of the Week - COVID-19 and rental late fees
Last updated 7/9/2020 at 11:23am
From Montana Legal Services Association
Did you know that landlords cannot charge late fees from March 30 through May 24 (later for those especially vulnerable to coronavirus)?
Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive March 30, saying that landlords should not charge any tenants for late fees, interest, or other charges or penalties because of nonpayment of rent. Bullock extended that directive through May 24, longer for those vulnerable to coronavirus. That means that even if you fell behind on rent, you shouldn’t get charged fees or interest between March 30 and May 24. It is a good idea to keep a record that you told your landlord that you suffered a job loss, wage or hours reduction, closure of business, needed to take time off work to care for a school-aged child or some other reason related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There isn’t specific language you need to use, just make sure that you describe how you were impacted by the outbreak. A record may include a copy of a letter or text message, a note you made about how you contacted your landlord, or some other way of showing that you let your landlord or property manager know about your situation.
If you are especially vulnerable to coronavirus and meet other conditions, the landlord can’t charge you late fees until you stop sheltering at home or the pandemic ends. Find more information about protections, for people especially vulnerable to coronavirus at http://montanalawhelp.org/resource/3-things-to-know-about-covid-19-and-your-housing-rights-in-montana .
To learn more, check out the COVID-19 section on http://MontanaLawHelp.org . If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try our smart search bar. Or call the Montana Legal Services Association HelpLine at 1-800-666-6899. Support free legal information for all Montanans at http://mtlsa.org/donate .