Trying to be a nice person AND a landlord is not always the best policy. A problem normally arises when
the nice person part of you convinces the landlord part of you to give a tenant a break and not collect late fees or eviction attorney fees when the tenant comes in to deliver their rent. Often times the practical part of you says why not take the rent money when it’s the majority of the balance . . . I can always collect the late fees and attorney fees later or keep more of their deposit when they move out.
Unfortunately, there is a legal doctrine called waiver that can really mess with your plans to collect these extra fees later. Waiver is defined in legalese as a knowing relinquishment of a right. What it means to you is that when you have a right under your lease to collect late fees and attorney fees, but do not enforce these provisions throughout, you may have waived your right to collect these charges. Letting a large balance of fees accrue throughout the tenancy or adding a large amount of unpaid fees to the ledger at the end of the tenancy are common indicators of waiver by the landlord.