My rapacious landlord

The management company is using a new site for payment, and the bastards are charging for the privilege of using debit cards or credit cards. I’ve always paid with debit for free, now they want me to pay a $10 fee for debit, or 3.5% of the bill if paying with credit card. But they’ll hassle with a paper check for free, so I’ll use their drop box. With my rent I included a note: “It’s not nice to charge your tenants $10 to pay rent with debit cards when it doesn’t cost you anything. I guess that it’s good for the bottom line though”.

When my old apartment complex went to online payment, they charged a ‘convenience fee’. If you went through the considerable hassle of getting a payment card (the only other option to the site. They sealed the drop box and no longer accepted checks) they charged the same convenience fee.

There was a space for comments when you paid. I always left a comment. My favorites “In defiance of physics, your convenience fee both sucks and blows!”


" On the seventh day, the Lord saw your convenience fee and said ‘That is not convenient!’ . "

Can you pay them with pennies ? Fill the drop box up with them.

I would say to both of you, check with your local authorities whether adding such fees is allowed to landlords. Many jurisdictions, though far from all, are very strict about sneaky rent add-ons like that.

Here at the home they have some fees that I find questionable. When we got our first rent bill, there was a substantial fee for having a “second person” staying in the apartment. That would be my wife. I went down and contested it as not being something that was in my contract and they removed it. A more irritating one is a $4 “tray return charge” if you have your meals delivered (which we do infrequently). Okay, the person who comes to collect the trays is on the payroll, so why are you collecting money for this? It’s costing management zero to retrieve them.

I had a property management company that due to the large volume of bounced checks, changed to a policy of rent can only be paid by cashiers check or money order. I never bounced and was maybe late twice in 20+ years. This infuriated me. There was zero language in the lease agreement about payments other than the due dates. Despite my raging against the machine at a municipal, township, county, state, local news and BBB level, no one felt this was unreasonable or unlawful. Luckily, that motivated me to get out of there not much longer after that.

Not that the fee isn’t bullshit, but there is an incremental cost - the tray gatherer could in theory be doing something else. Can you take the trays back yourself and avoid the fee? I assume ‘no’.

That would probably result in a tracking nightmare for management. I’m suspecting that the $4 probably covers the cost of replacing lost trays. There are probably apartments that have stacks of them in a closet that aren’t discovered until the resident kicks the bucket. What, too cynical?

It’s like the infamous Purple Plates incident at college, where the “Dreamboxers”, a posse of student pranksters, smuggled only purple plates out of the cafeteria. After a semester or two, it was a rare sighting indeed to find anything but blue, green, pink and orange plates (they kind of looked like Fiestaware).

This persisted until one of the Dreamboxers faked a threatening letter from the dean to the kid whose dorm room closet had been jam-packed with plates for months…

Stupid decision on their part.

I mean, I get charging a fee for credit card usage; they have to pay a percentage of the purchase. And if your debit card is run like a credit card, there is (I assume) a fee involved there as well.

But some sort of bank draft capability (like how we pay our HOA dues, and how we paid them on the place we used to have in Florida) is well within a management company’s capability - and eliminates the whole “get check, deposit it, hope it clears” scenario.

My city utility payments are that way. There is a surcharge, 3% I think, for either a debit or credit card transaction and they closed the in-person office where they could take a paper check but they have my checking account’s routing and account numbers for an EFT.

Ditto for my ISP but my wireless service is still debit card with no surcharge.

But why would they do that?

Inconvenience is the spur to goad the renter to pay the additional fee “for convenience”. Because revenue.

I take it they also don’t accept automated ACH payments from your checking account? That’s the surest way for them to receive the actual funds the fastest, and I don’t think it costs them anything (or you, for that matter, maybe depending on your bank). That’s how I pay my mortgage and utilities.

If they don’t accept that, it’s strong evidence that they are just arranging things so that they can get extra money out of you.

Absent contractual language, I wonder how they can legally refuse to accept payment via check - or cash.

This, along with the official notice you received that informed you of the $10 charge and a hand written note that says, “What are we going to do here?”.

I find it hard to believe that is legal.

Me too. Gotta get them on the record to tell you how the “convenience fee[s]” can be avoided. If it can’t be avoided, it’s just a surcharge or a rent increase.

You have to pay the landlord $10 to make it more convenient for them?

Hence my indignation. I’ll drive across town every month to deliver a money order rather than pay that. It’s a money grubbing asshole move. A few hundred apartments times $10 adds up.