Landlord Claims Rent Not Received (But Check Is Cashed)
Staying on top of your rent is an important and often difficult responsibility. Being an adult can be hard and expensive. It will come as quite a frustrating shock then, if your landlord reaches out saying you have not paid your rent but you see the rent check has been cashed.
If your landlord claims your rent check was not received but the check is cashed you should gather proof. Contact your bank for records and confirm that you have paid properly, on time, and in full. Obtain a copy of the signed check and print your bank record. Contact your landlord and provide copies of this information. If the issue escalates to eviction you may wish to seek legal assistance.
When your landlord claims you have not paid the rent but the check is cashed you should consider a few factors. You must consider how you paid your rent, how it was sent, and who you sent it to. This can help determine where the disconnect is occurring.
How Do You Pay?
Your method of payment matters. If you paid in personal check versus digital transfer, or money order all factor into how traceable a payment is. If you paid by any form of check and see that it has been cashed you next should consider how it was sent.
How Do You Send it?
Consider how you delivered the rent payment in question to your landlord. If you sent it through mail there is always a slim chance the check was stolen and somehow cashed through methods of fraud. If you deliver your rent directly to a lock box this is less likely but not entirely impossible.
Who Is It Sent To?
This might seem like a silly question, but often your rent is not sent directly to your landlord. Your rent may be delivered to a rental company, the building manager, or another third party.
If your rent is delivered to someone other than your landlord you should confirm they received the payment. Human error is possible and there is a chance that money or paperwork was filed and deposited incorrectly.
Check Your Bank Account
When your landlord claims you did not send the rent but you know you did, the first place you should check is the bank.
Confirm The Check Cleared
The first step in confirming you paid the rent in question is to confirm the check was cashed. Look at the recent check withdrawals from your account. If you find the payments you think correspond to the rent in question, request a digital copy of the check. The bank should be able to provide you with a photo of the front and back of the check.
Confirm that your landlord has signed the back of the check. You should also confirm that the check is for the correct month. It is possible that your landlord sometimes cashes your checks late. Even though a check was cashed recently it may in fact be an older check.
Did The Check Bounce?
Just because you sent the rent does not mean it reached the landlord. Your landlord may say he did not receive the rent, but what he actually means is your check bounced. Confirm that the check was cashed in its entirety.
Is The Amount Correct?
Be sure the rent amount you sent is correct. Your landlord may be requesting the rent amount in full. If you send a partial payment he or she has the right to reach out for full payment, including late fees. Confirm your rent has not increased recently.
Provide the evidence when your landlord continues to claim you have not paid rent and you confirmed the check has been cashed. If you are able to show photos of checks, signatures and dates your landlord should realize it is likely not your error. There is a chance your landlord made an honest accounting mistake, or perhaps there was a miscommunication between your landlord and the building.
Confirm It Is Not A Scam
Contacting your landlord also confirms the request is not a scam. It is not uncommon for scammers to reach out claiming to be your landlord. Those attempting to fraud you will use a variety of excuses in order to get your bank information.
When Your Landlord Threatens To Evict You For Non-Payment
If you and your landlord are somehow still unable to come to an agreement after you provide the proof of rental payment things may escalate. When your landlord decides to begin the eviction process for alleged non-payment you may want to seek professional legal help.
If you have all the documented supporting evidence then a lawyer should help fight for your rights, and will try to ensure your time and lawyer bills are paid for.
Secure Payment Methods
Personal checks are a very common and fairly secure way of paying your rent. These checks must be signed by both the sender and recipient, which makes the payment fairly secure and traceable.
A personal check can also be post-dated for a future date, which means you can be flexible about when you send your payment as well. Personal checks are, however, slowly going out of fashion with the rise of the digital age.
One negative in regards to check payments is you must ensure you always have the appropriate amount of funds in the checking account. The money is not “held” or accounted for as it is with other methods.
Email Transfer/ Direct Deposit
Another growing type of secure payment is the e-mail transfer or direct deposit. Both direct deposits and e-mail transfers are modern digital ways to transfer money from your account to your landlord’s. Your landlord has to be willing to receive payments this way. This method is a growing payment type, and some older generations are not as savvy to the concept.
If your landlord does accept this form of payment it is a great and secure method. Not only is it a nearly instant transaction, but it is also highly traceable. When the funds are transferred there is a digital log created that either party should be able to access.
PayPal has also become a tool landlords and tenants use to exchange rent money. The PayPal platform works similarly to an email transfer. The difference is that both parties must have a PayPal account in order to make the transfer.
PayPal payments are also easily trackable. There is a small fee (often a percentage). This fee is usually charged in the direction of the recipient, so your landlord may request an additional transaction fee for using this surface.
Always Get A Receipt
When you pay your landlord rent it is always a good idea to get a receipt if possible. If you pay rent in person, or if your landlord lives nearby this should not be a huge inconvenience to either of you.
Receipts are particularly important when your payment method is not easily trackable. If you pay rent in cash you should ensure there is a rent receipt at the moment of the transaction. Do not wait until a later date to get a receipt.
Final Checks And Balances
If your landlord reaches out to you saying you have not paid the rent be sure to double-check on your end. Collect the necessary proof to show that you have paid the rent in full and on time. When you pay your rent be sure you always use a traceable method to ensure you have proof of payment.
If you present all the facts to your landlord and are confident you did everything right then your landlord should back down. If matters escalate you may want to seek a professional legal opinion.
Can My Landlord Make Me Pay Rent In Cash?
Check your state laws to see if it is legal to have a lease requiring rent to be paid in cash. The only time a landlord may require rent in cash is if your other form of payments are not working and your rent is past due. If your rent check bounces, for example, your landlord may request rent in cash as soon as possible in order to prevent the start of eviction proceedings. Tip: Any time you pay your rent in cash be sure to get a receipt when the exchange of funds occurs.
Why Would My Landlord Return My Rent Check?
There are several reasons your landlord might return your rent check. One common reason a landlord would return your rent is if it is not paid in full. Many landlords do not accept partial payments. This helps them avoid confusion. Many leases even stipulate that partial payments are not accepted.Your landlord may also return your rent check if he or she has begun the eviction process. When the eviction process begins landlords will often stop accepting any rent. The only money a landlord will likely accept is arrears or damages.
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.
More by Tom Gaffey