In the real estate context, a late charge can refer to any fee that is assessed when the buyer or renter is late with any payment that is due under the contract. For renters, the late charge is typically assessed after a three-day grace period under the lease. The amount of the charge will vary depending upon the property though most states limit how much the landlord can charge for being late. A late charge might also apply to a buyer who does not make the required payment by the contracted for date. In some cases, contracts can be voided when a payment is not made on time. In other situations, the seller will just have the right to assess this charge on the buyer. It ultimately depends upon the specific language of the contract and what the two sides have negotiated up to that point.