How Long Can A Landlord Hold A Rent Check? (Find Out Now!)

how long can a landlord hold a rent check

Sometimes it can be a struggle to pay your rent on time. Not only may the financial burden of your monthly rent be hard, but it can even be hard to find time to go to the post office. It can be especially frustrating when you have paid your rent on time and your landlord waits months to cash your check.

When your landlord holds on to your rent check for weeks or even months you can find yourself financially scrambled. It is not easy to look at your checking account and do constant mental math while you wait months for your landlord to deposit months of rent. You may even ask yourself “how long can my landlord hold a rent check?”

Your landlord can cash your check up to six months after the check was issued. After the six-month period the check goes stale. Some banks may still cash it while others will reject it. Contact your bank to find out their policy. If you are concerned about the check, contact your landlord at or near the 6-month mark.

The 6 Month Rule

When you write a personal check it is usually considered live or “active” for up to six months. If a check still has not been cashed or deposited after six months, a bank can refuse to accept it. This means if your landlord still has not cashed your check after six months then he or she likely may have trouble cashing it at all.

What Is A Stale Check?

A stale check is one that can be considered invalid due to its age. Most banks consider a check stale after six months, and some may consider a check stale even sooner. Once a check becomes stale, it is void in the eyes of the bank. However, if the bank has a very lenient policy on old checks they may still attempt to cash it. 

Tip: Just because a check is stale it does not mean it is void. If you need to put a stop payment on this check. You should contact your bank for this.

Find Out Your Bank’s Policies

If your landlord has a habit of holding onto your rent check for a long time you should find out your own bank’s policy. There are several questions you should ask in order to ensure you are always keeping your checking account in order.

How Long Can You Wait To Cash A Check?

Since banks have different policies on how long they will allow a check to be cashed, you should find out your bank’s policy. If your landlord is holding on to your rent check for a long time you need to know exactly how long he can hold it until it’s invalid. 

Some banks allow checks to be cashed up to one year after they are dated. Knowing your bank’s policy on how they classify stale checks can save you confusion and headaches in the future.

What Is The Stop Payment Policy?

You should also find out what your bank’s stop payment policy is. Some banks have accounts that do not charge for stop payments. Other accounts can be charged up to $35 for a single stop payment. You should know how much your fee is in case you need to issue a stop payment for a very old rent check.

Consider Your Landlord’s Options

If your landlord holds on to your rent check without cashing it you should consider what his rights are. As long as you have dated the check on time according to your lease then your rent is on time. Keep in mind that it is your responsibility to keep that amount of money in your account at all times.

Your landlord should cash your check in a reasonable amount of time. However, if there is no written agreement as to when your check will be cashed then he has the right to deposit or cash the check at his convenience.

If for some reason the landlord hangs on to your rent checks for months and deposits all of them at once then you should have all the necessary funds to allow this. If one or multiple checks bounce you may be responsible for quickly re-paying the rent and the bounced check fee.

Contact Landlord If Problem Persists

Your landlord may have a habit of holding on to your rent checks for an unreasonable amount of time. If this is the case, it may be a good idea to reach out to him or her.

If your landlord holds on to a rent check for a long time you can ask him if there is a reason for it. There is a chance he has logistical problems cashing your check or maybe it is an administrative issue. Either way, if you are becoming frustrated with your landlord holding your rent check – you can see if there is a solution.

The solution could be sending rent in a different form of payment. Or perhaps you can work out a deposit schedule with your landlord to ensure your bank account stays organized.

What If You Moved Out?

You may find yourself in a position where you have moved out and your landlord still has not cashed your rent check. Normally a landlord will be sure all financial dealings are squared away before returning your security deposit.

If for some reason you have moved out, collected your deposit and your landlord still has not deposited a check you may want to let him or her know. There is a chance the check was lost. Either way – the landlord will still have the same 6-month span to cash the check before it is stale. 

Honesty is the best policy, but either way be sure to have ample funds in your account until the check fully expires.

Related Questions

Can I Pay My Rent In Cash?

Cash is sometimes accepted as a rent payment if your landlord allows it. There is some risk involved in paying your rent in cash, as it is less trackable than a check or money order. If you are interested in paying your rent in cash you should ask your landlord first.

When you pay your rent in cash, make sure there is a paper trail. The best practice when using cash as payment is to make a transaction in person and get a receipt. This would mean paying rent directly to your landlord and requesting a receipt at that time.

What Happens If My Rent Check Bounced?

If your rent check bounces you can potentially face several fees. When your rent payment bounces the payment will likely be considered late. A late payment often means you will have to pay the landlord a late fee. Your bank may also charge you and/or your landlord a fee for the bounced check. You will be responsible for paying this fee.

If you are able to quickly make good on these late fees then you should be in good standing with your landlord. Be sure to communicate thoroughly with your landlord when this situation arises. 

Can My Landlord Reject My Rent Check?

There are several circumstances when your landlord can reject your rent check. If you have paid the wrong amount of money in rent your landlord has the right to reject your check. Often a lease stipulates rent must be paid in full. Therefore if you only pay a portion of the rent your landlord can reject the check.

Your landlord also has the right to reject your payment if he has started the eviction process with you. If the landlord is seeking to have you removed from the apartment the will likely reject the rent you are trying to pay. The only check your landlord will likely take would be for arrears. 

Final Considerations

When your landlord holds on to your rent check for a long time you can become frustrated. Often handling finances can be difficult enough without a landlord complicating things by holding on to your rent.

Your landlord normally can wait up to six months before he deposits your rent check. Once six months has passed, however, do not assume you are in the clear. At that point your landlord can try to find a bank, including yours, that may still cash the check. He or she can also ask you to re-send the payment.

When your landlord has held on to your check for a long time it may be wise to reach out. You can try and understand why your landlord holds on to your rent check and maybe help rectify this issue. If it looks like your landlord will continue to wait a long time to cash your check you may try and set up a schedule with him or her.

If all else fails, just remember to keep track of your finances or even open up a separate account just for your rent payment. 

Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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