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Watch 2 On Your Side reports on all WBRZ News 2 newscasts: morning, noon, afternoon and evening.  Brittany Weiss is the 2 On Your Side anchor/reporter.  Check this page daily for tips and On Your Side reports.

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Late fees concern tenants who say they don't owe

BATON ROUGE - Some folks living at Magnolia Trace off N. Harrells Ferry Road came home to notices on their doors saying they owed a whole lot of rent money. Many people are confused about the notices since the complex is strict when it comes to paying late fees.

Teressa Short says she can't afford to pay her bill, but she also has no clue what it's for.

"We don't know what's happening, we don't understand," she said.

The notices were posted on apartment doors Friday. The notice says it's for non-payment of rent and includes Friday's date and the apartment number. The document says: "This is our written attempt to contact you regarding a balance due with the office. At this time, no payment has been made to our office in regards to this matter. As a courtesy, we give you until the 5th of the month to pay your rent."

It also says, "Evictions will be filed on (blank) by 9:00 AM, which will be an additional charge of $128." There is no eviction filing included. The document goes on to say questions should be addressed to the Magnolia Trace Apartments office and it's signed by the property manager.

Short's non-payment notice is for $1,448. She's lived at Magnolia Trace for eight years and has fulfilled 16, six-month leases. She says she pays her rent each month. Her rent is sometimes late, but she always has to pay the $50 late fee along with her rent. She called 2 On Your Side and says she has no idea why she still owes her apartment complex money.

Some notices are posted to doors of units where there are no tenants. One is for about $7,000 and another is for $3,324. A woman who moved into her apartment two weeks ago says she received a late notice for $1,113.

Monday morning, 2 On Your Side went looking for the property manager but was unable to find her. A woman at the front desk told WBRZ's Brittany Weiss that people should visit the office and call corporate management if they have questions. She could not provide contact information and didn't have any knowledge about the rent owed by each resident.

The property management company is Triumph Housing Management. The company's website lists a property address in Cumming, GA. It says it took over Magnolia Trace Apartments in the summer of 2017 and these are "standard late notices." A representative of the company tells 2 On your Side, if residents can't pay their fees they'll be issued an eviction notice on April 11 and go before a judge.

WBRZ learned from Triumph Housing Management that Short's fines are for non-payment of rent from March and April. She showed 2 On Your Side her receipts for money orders submitted.

"And I don't owe you," she said.

Triumph Housing Management says the notices will be sent to every tenant who is delinquent on the sixth of each month. If a tenant received this notice in error, they'll have to provide documentation to dispute the charges.

Short says she's ready to fight her late notice and she has all the necessary paperwork to back up her claim.

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