Author Topic: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!  (Read 4547 times)

JoJoP

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I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« on: February 22, 2019, 08:15:11 AM »
Oy vey, I have an issue that appears to be escalating. 

 I have one tenant that pays by mailed check.  It's set to auto draft from her bank, and it comes on time every month, as autopays do.   This month, it came, I put the envelope in my purse unopened, and a couple of days later went to the bank to deposit it and some other checks.   When I got to the bank, the rent check wasn't there.  I searched the car, the house, and the heap of files that have just been pulled out for doing our tax return.  No luck.   I  search some more and wait for a few days for it to show up, somewhere.  It doesn't.  It's lost.  Possibly thrown out  or shredded with the mountain of paperwork purged during the tax organization, possibly fallen in the parking lot, or ????  I have no idea.  I consider the idea that it went into a different bank account of mine, but no, I'm not that lame. 

 So I call the tenant to tell her the check is lost.  To date, I've never reached her by phone, only text.  She doesn't answer the phone and her voice mail is generally full.  I text her that the check is missing.   She inquires to the bank, and is told that the check was sent and the funds withdrawn from her account.   I text that I didn't deposit it.  If she says I did, please provide me a cancelled check or replace the original one.  She tells me the money has been sent, funds are gone, and that it's against the law for the bank to tell her where the funds went, only that the check has been sent.   She never says "cashed" or "deposited."  She's not paying rent twice because of my mistake, she says.   I'm starting to worry by now, because this is just a heap of misinformation and it's going south.  She's asking the bank the wrong questions. 

She's fairly young.  Is this her first experience with a stop payment????   I explain (all this is over text, she still won't answer and has been at work some of the time) that the funds get pulled from her bank when they sent  the check, because it's autopay.  That doesn't mean I cashed it.  It doesn't mean she'll pay twice.   I offer to meet her at the branch.  I tell her she needs to either prove it was cashed or resubmit it, and she may be subject to a late fee.  She tells me to quit harassing her, she won't pay a late fee because it's my fault,  and the check was sent, I admitted receiving it, and she want to be left alone-- I lost it, the money is out of her account,  and it's my problem.   

 I actually have an account at the same bank.  I've called 3 times to the Bill Pay department for advice.  The stop payment is free, and the check could be reissued. It would take 5-10 working days for me to get it.  This is all Standard Operating procedure, they can't look up the specific payment because it would require her permission.    I text her a version of this explanation, and she agreed to ask, when she has the time on her day off, to see if the bank will be willing to cancel the payment and reissue a new check.  I have no idea when her day off is and she's not telling. 

So it's now been another 3 days.  It's the 21st and haven't heard from her.  Should I give her a 3 day notice to correct?   I had one typed out earlier in the week, but opted to let it play out.   I'm thinking of bringing it later today.   Should I send another text?  A step by step instruction on how to do it?   I'm not motivated to collect the late fee, I just want the check reissued and used the late fee as a nudge to get her to act expediently.  Meanwhile... I have a nagging worry- what if it was dropped in the parking lot and forged?

 This is such a mess!  Suggestions?

Cassie

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2019, 09:02:44 AM »
She is being unreasonable.  I would give her instructions on how to do the stop payment.

wbranch

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2019, 09:20:56 AM »
It does sound like this tenant is a not very knowledgeable about how things work and is being a bit unreasonable. But based on the tone of your post I do think you may have handled it poorly from the start based on what you said when contacting the tenant. It was BS to bring up a late fee. When I was in my early 20s I had a shitty landlord I would have told to go F themselves if they told me they were going to charge a late fee when they lost a check. Depending on her job and days off it might not be that easy to get to the bank.

I think you should contact the tenant again about the stop payment process and also apologize about mentioning the late fee since you were frustrated and needed the $ and just want to make it happen as smoothly as possible.

Freedomin5

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2019, 09:24:13 AM »
I donít know. The way I read the situation is that she gave you the check on time and paid on time. From her perspective, she did everything she was supposed to do, when she was supposed to do it. You went and lost the check, and now youíre trying to punish her with late fees because sheís not being nice and cooperative in helping you fix your own mistake.

She issued the check. Whether or not you cash it is not really her problem. You basically need her to do you a huge favor and go through the hassle of asking for a stop payment and re-issuing a check. You may catch more flies with honey in this situation; hopefully she will be willing to go the extra mile to help you out of the jam you created by not taking good care of the check. My guess is that treating her as the adversary is not going to make her more willing to comply with your wishes.

scantee

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2019, 09:29:22 AM »
Have you considered the possibility that the check was deposited, somehow, by someone else?

Itís not her fault you lost the check. If you want to make this right, the burden is on you to walk her through the process.

Think about changing the way you collect rent in the future, now that you know youíre someone who canít keep track of checks.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 09:31:04 AM by scantee »

better late

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2019, 09:45:03 AM »
I actually canít believe you mentioned charging her a late fee. My landlord lost my rent check two months ago and it did take me a while to remember to get them another check and I would have been furious if they had threatened a late fee. Iím sure she has told this story to her friends and coworkers.

Steeze

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2019, 09:55:19 AM »
Late fees, 3- day notice? Hah! Your funny. Your mistake is not her issue. She could be more helpful, but you have to have some patience. Need that cash faster? How about offering a discount on next months rent in exchange for meeting with you at the bank? You fucked up, stop blaming your tenant for your mistake. If you tried charging me a late fee or gave me a 3 day notice I would get even.

ixtap

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2019, 10:24:07 AM »
These checks aren't like standard checks. The cancellation process is not readily available at most banks. BoA does not have any information online about stop payment on such checks; the one bank I found quickly that does have the info online involves a "payment inquiry form," which I imagine will take some time to process.

Not only should you not expect late fees, you should deduct the amount of the stop payment fee. If this is your general tone, it is no wonder the tenant is wary of you trying to take advantage.

Dee18

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2019, 10:38:41 AM »
Maybe Iím misreading, but it seems her words could be interpreted to mean that the check was cashed.  I would ask her to provide you with a copy of a bank statement/cancelled check showing the check was cashed if that is the case.  You should offer to pay for that.  If it was cashed, itís your loss. If it was not cashed, I think you should ask again for her to stop payment on it and issue you a new check.  I would offer to pay any fees associated with that and discount the rent for that month by $100 for her inconvenience.

galliver

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2019, 10:43:01 AM »
I don’t know. The way I read the situation is that she gave you the check on time and paid on time. From her perspective, she did everything she was supposed to do, when she was supposed to do it. You went and lost the check, and now you’re trying to punish her with late fees because she’s not being nice and cooperative in helping you fix your own mistake.

She issued the check. Whether or not you cash it is not really her problem. You basically need her to do you a huge favor and go through the hassle of asking for a stop payment and re-issuing a check. You may catch more flies with honey in this situation; hopefully she will be willing to go the extra mile to help you out of the jam you created by not taking good care of the check. My guess is that treating her as the adversary is not going to make her more willing to comply with your wishes.
As a tenant...this.

FreshPrincess

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2019, 10:45:40 AM »
I donít know. The way I read the situation is that she gave you the check on time and paid on time. From her perspective, she did everything she was supposed to do, when she was supposed to do it. You went and lost the check, and now youíre trying to punish her with late fees because sheís not being nice and cooperative in helping you fix your own mistake.

She issued the check. Whether or not you cash it is not really her problem. You basically need her to do you a huge favor and go through the hassle of asking for a stop payment and re-issuing a check. You may catch more flies with honey in this situation; hopefully she will be willing to go the extra mile to help you out of the jam you created by not taking good care of the check. My guess is that treating her as the adversary is not going to make her more willing to comply with your wishes.
As a tenant...this.

As a landlord... this.

Jimbo

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2019, 10:59:53 AM »
oh man, this situation reminds of the shitty landlords I used to have and how I hated so many of them.

Yeah, it's pretty obvious you have a problem of your own doing. It is also pretty obvious dealing with it will be a hassle that benefits only you and only costs your tenant their own time. Geez, wonder why they would not be thrilled about this? But BONUS you are super confrontational. Fun. Times.

I hope you did not like this tenant - they are definitely shopping for some other place to live.

JoJoP

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2019, 11:06:24 AM »
I donít know. The way I read the situation is that she gave you the check on time and paid on time. From her perspective, she did everything she was supposed to do, when she was supposed to do it. You went and lost the check, and now youíre trying to punish her with late fees because sheís not being nice and cooperative in helping you fix your own mistake.

She issued the check. Whether or not you cash it is not really her problem. You basically need her to do you a huge favor and go through the hassle of asking for a stop payment and re-issuing a check. You may catch more flies with honey in this situation; hopefully she will be willing to go the extra mile to help you out of the jam you created by not taking good care of the check. My guess is that treating her as the adversary is not going to make her more willing to comply with your wishes.

I agree... thanks for the tips. You guys are right that I've pissed her off...  and you're right that she did get me the check on time and that's her basic obligation.  Agreed.  The late fee was a mistake to mention and surely didn't help.   I was being testy. <hang head>  I hate epic texting because it's still too brief for details and subject to misinterpretation, as has just happened in this case.   It would have been so much easier if we could have just talked on the phone and I certainly would have walked her though it and addressed any concerns she had.   This did take almost 2 weeks to get to here, though, it didn't start out bad at all.  My excuses, I know, but the whole thing could have been fixed with a 3 minute call instead of all this texting.  If I'd realized earlier on that she thought she'd have to pay twice, and hence reluctant,  of course I would have addressed it immediately.  Now that I know her underlying concern,  I've reassured her repeatedly that there will only be one deduction.  The auto pay and the immediate deduction just complicated the texting and neither one of us realized what the other one was saying. 

As long as it's not in fraudulent hands...  I'm worried that the check is out there in a parking lot, and concerned about the delay in her response while the check is still viable.   As far as I know, it's still viable at this moment.  I've got a sense of urgency here because of that.  That is a cause for concern and I'm just praying that nothing will come of that, since unraveling a fraud case is a whole 'nuther level of hassle.

But, in my own defence.. I'm not without a case... I've reported a missing check almost 2 weeks ago and she has some obligation to act in good faith. Her rent is not paid.   A check on the loose in the world can cause hassles for both of us, as it is doing.   People use checks for the very reason that they are trackable and a cancelled check is proof of payment.  There are systems in place at the bank and the legal system because things do happen and fraud does exist. 

Edited to add: If no action is ever taken,  at some point the bank will redeposit an uncashed autopay back into her account.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 11:20:20 AM by JoJoP »

Jimbo

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2019, 11:22:34 AM »
You are 'not without a case'?... So just to be clear, you are considering discipline against your tenant due to you... losing their check?...

This whole thing seems so weird to me.

I do give to you that text conversations are counterproductive. But you know, you literally know where they live. You could set up a meeting at their place to go over this. I agree this would clarify things and be more productive. And then, ahead of the meeting, you reframe your point of view as the tenant making you a huge favour by doing this. Then a productive conversation will be possible.

driftwood

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2019, 11:26:24 AM »
I donít know. The way I read the situation is that she gave you the check on time and paid on time. From her perspective, she did everything she was supposed to do, when she was supposed to do it. You went and lost the check, and now youíre trying to punish her with late fees because sheís not being nice and cooperative in helping you fix your own mistake.

She issued the check. Whether or not you cash it is not really her problem. You basically need her to do you a huge favor and go through the hassle of asking for a stop payment and re-issuing a check. You may catch more flies with honey in this situation; hopefully she will be willing to go the extra mile to help you out of the jam you created by not taking good care of the check. My guess is that treating her as the adversary is not going to make her more willing to comply with your wishes.

I agree... thanks for the tips. You guys are right that I've pissed her off...  and you're right that she did get me the check on time and that's her basic obligation.  Agreed.  The late fee was a mistake to mention and surely didn't help.   I was being testy. <hang head>  I hate epic texting because it's still too brief for details and subject to misinterpretation, as has just happened in this case.   It would have been so much easier if we could have just talked on the phone and I certainly would have walked her though it and addressed any concerns she had.   This did take almost 2 weeks to get to here, though, it didn't start out bad at all.  My excuses, I know, but the whole thing could have been fixed with a 3 minute call instead of all this texting.  If I'd realized earlier on that she thought she'd have to pay twice, and hence reluctant,  of course I would have addressed it immediately.  Now that I know her underlying concern,  I've reassured her repeatedly that there will only be one deduction.  The auto pay and the immediate deduction just complicated the texting and neither one of us realized what the other one was saying. 

As long as it's not in fraudulent hands...  I'm worried that the check is out there in a parking lot, and concerned about the delay in her response while the check is still viable.   As far as I know, it's still viable at this moment.  I've got a sense of urgency here because of that.  That is a cause for concern and I'm just praying that nothing will come of that, since unraveling a fraud case is a whole 'nuther level of hassle.

But, in my own defence.. I'm not without a case... I've reported a missing check almost 2 weeks ago and she has some obligation to act in good faith. Her rent is not paid.   A check on the loose in the world can cause hassles for both of us, as it is doing.   People use checks for the very reason that they are trackable and a cancelled check is proof of payment.  There are systems in place at the bank and the legal system because things do happen and fraud does exist. 

Edited to add: If no action is ever taken,  at some point the bank will redeposit an uncashed autopay back into her account.

The rent was literally paid to you. It was physically in your purse. I do hope you can straighten it out and she agrees to help, but this is a case of you losing money paid to you. It is not her problem at all. If you conversations with her carry the tone you've continued to have, I don't see it going well.

ixtap

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2019, 11:33:25 AM »
Forget your own defense. You are asking your tenant for a favor and the first step is for them to find out how much the stop payment fee is at their bank so that they can take that off the check they give you.

Did the first auto pay check not come with instructions for setting up electronic payments?

JoJoP

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2019, 11:51:04 AM »

I do give to you that text conversations are counterproductive. But you know, you literally know where they live. You could set up a meeting at their place to go over this. I agree this would clarify things and be more productive. And then, ahead of the meeting, you reframe your point of view as the tenant making you a huge favour by doing this. Then a productive conversation will be possible.

Good idea. 

You guys are really being tough!   I've gotten many answers that say I'm being a jerk.  I'll heed your advice.  That's actually why I asked-- to get different vantage points.   I'll be super nice in all future interactions and try to haul this thing back to ok. 

There is no stop payment fee, fyi.  I checked. The auto pay program allows that to happen for no charge.  I would DEFINITELY pay the fee if there was one, but the bank said it's free.

But help me out here...play along with a different scenario.  Yes, I lost the check.  (FYI-It's never happened before).  BUT-  If it was, say, lost in the mail to pay any form of bill, then what would you do? Let's pretend it's a payment to a store.   So now it's lost in the mail- It's still mailed  on time, and the funds were instantly deducted from her account because it was a bill pay payment.   There's a check out there somewhere that could fall into the wrong hands.  Someday, if check is never cashed by anybody legit or not, the money will eventually go back into her account.  The bill is still not paid and there's a viable check unaccounted for.  What's the best plan of action?

JoJoP

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2019, 11:55:54 AM »

Did the first auto pay check not come with instructions for setting up electronic payments?

I had asked to set it up electronically with direct deposit or ACH, but it ended up coming in the mail and it's been that way ever since.  I never revisited the ACH idea, but would like to do so after we're past this. 

Telecaster

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2019, 11:58:27 AM »
I had a vendor lose a bank-sent check one time.   It took a little bit of straightening out, because in fact my bank showed that the amount of the check had been debited from my account.   So as far as I knew it had been cashed.  After some digging, I determined that the check hadn't actually cleared yet, even though that's what my bank account appeared to show.  But it wasn't at all obvious at first.

I suspect that something similar is going on with your tenant.  As far as she can tell, the money is out of her account, even though the check probably hasn't cleared (very likely, anyway).

At this point your best bet is to offer an apology, get her to cancel the old check and cut you a new one.  And then you should send her a gift card as thank you for helping you out of your epic fuck up. 


galliver

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2019, 11:58:52 AM »

I do give to you that text conversations are counterproductive. But you know, you literally know where they live. You could set up a meeting at their place to go over this. I agree this would clarify things and be more productive. And then, ahead of the meeting, you reframe your point of view as the tenant making you a huge favour by doing this. Then a productive conversation will be possible.

Good idea. 

You guys are really being tough!   I've gotten many answers that say I'm being a jerk.  I'll heed your advice.  That's actually why I asked-- to get different vantage points.   I'll be super nice in all future interactions and try to haul this thing back to ok. 

There is no stop payment fee, fyi.  I checked. The auto pay program allows that to happen for no charge.  I would DEFINITELY pay the fee if there was one, but the bank said it's free.

But help me out here...play along with a different scenario.  Yes, I lost the check.  (FYI-It's never happened before).  BUT-  If it was, say, lost in the mail to pay any form of bill, then what would you do? Let's pretend it's a payment to a store.   So now it's lost in the mail- It's still mailed  on time, and the funds were instantly deducted from her account because it was a bill pay payment.   There's a check out there somewhere that could fall into the wrong hands.  Someday, if check is never cashed by anybody legit or not, the money will eventually go back into her account.  The bill is still not paid and there's a viable check unaccounted for.  What's the best plan of action?
In your scenario the check never arrived. You admit in your case the check did arrive. If, after that point, you set it on fire, your dog eats it, you lose it, aliens teleport it out of your house in front of your eyes, etc... It's on you.

You can *ask* for a stop payment. Working with you is the nice/decent thing to do. I would probably help you.

But she doesn't OWE you this effort. It's a favor. A gift. And you are not being gracious about it at the moment.

Telecaster

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2019, 12:03:55 PM »
But help me out here...play along with a different scenario.  Yes, I lost the check.  (FYI-It's never happened before).  BUT-  If it was, say, lost in the mail to pay any form of bill, then what would you do? Let's pretend it's a payment to a store.   So now it's lost in the mail- It's still mailed  on time, and the funds were instantly deducted from her account because it was a bill pay payment.   There's a check out there somewhere that could fall into the wrong hands.  Someday, if check is never cashed by anybody legit or not, the money will eventually go back into her account.  The bill is still not paid and there's a viable check unaccounted for.  What's the best plan of action?

I'd call and politely inform the person that you haven't received payment.  Even if the funds are instantly deducted, there is still a record if the check cleared or not.   If it hasn't cleared, they should cancel the old check and cut you a new one. 

ginjaninja

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2019, 12:17:16 PM »
I had a jerk landlord do something to me, I used the same bill pay function. 

I was prepared to go to court to prove that my check was to the best of my ability paid (dates of the deposit and the dates the check was sent).

It actually took some time (~2-3weeks) for me to call the bank, get the funds redeposited, and resend the check.  If she were to just send you another check it would pull the full amount of rent without the money being deposited right away. 

It is so close to the end of the month, I would probably request that when she cancels the check to just have her next payment be 1.5 times the normal amount.  This will only send one check to you, you give her a discount for the whole debacle and it is done and over with.  I call mistakes like this an "idiot tax" for myself.

Good luck! 

waltworks

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2019, 12:19:40 PM »
Yep, give her a huge discount on the month's rent and use it as a kick in the pants to set things up completely electronically from now on.

Hell, my tenants just pay me with venmo. You can be setup for that with insanely minimal effort.

-W

ixtap

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2019, 12:20:20 PM »
I had a jerk landlord do something to me, I used the same bill pay function. 

I was prepared to go to court to prove that my check was to the best of my ability paid (dates of the deposit and the dates the check was sent).

It actually took some time (~2-3weeks) for me to call the bank, get the funds redeposited, and resend the check.  If she were to just send you another check it would pull the full amount of rent without the money being deposited right away. 

It is so close to the end of the month, I would probably request that when she cancels the check to just have her next payment be 1.5 times the normal amount.  This will only send one check to you, you give her a discount for the whole debacle and it is done and over with.  I call mistakes like this an "idiot tax" for myself.

Good luck!

This is a decent solution, but it might make a difference to the tenant whether or not the money is in their account. Not everyone has even half a month's rent sitting around in their checking. I did not most of my life, because I was sweeping any excess into paying down student loans, for example.

robartsd

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2019, 12:28:32 PM »
For every bank I've dealt with, bill pay checks are deducted from the payer's account before the check is sent. The actual check that is sent is more like a cashier's check than a personal check. I've always imagined that they are drawn against a separate account the bank maintains for bill pay payments. Until this thread, I've never considered how a missed payment would need to be processed (I've never had one of my payees need me to do this - and I don't have anyone paying me with these services). These checks always have expiration dates (usually 3 to 6 months after issue) after which funds would be returned to the payer's account if the check is not cashed. I've always imagined that the bank sends instructions for setting up ACH payments instead of receiving paper checks; but some recipients still don't set this up (as a payer I wish they would - I like seeing that my bill payments will be processed electronically. As a tenant I would not set of ACH transactions to a landlord directly - I'd leave that between my bill pay service and the landlord.

JoJoP, please be patient with your tenant. While the issue is now weeks old, it has only been 3 days since she properly understood what she needs to do to fix this. The root of the problem is that you lost a check, so any activity she needs to do to resolve this should be considered a favor and you should understand that she needs to fit it in to what she had planned for her life. An apology for improper actions on your part is certainly in order. A gentle reminder than you do need the money and what she needs to do to resolve the issue is OK. You can also ask her to let you know when she has completed the process of asking the bank to resubmit the check so that you can know when to expect it in the mail. I would not follow up after this for at least a full week.

bwall

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2019, 01:00:31 PM »
There's a check out there somewhere that could fall into the wrong hands.  Someday, if check is never cashed by anybody legit or not, the money will eventually go back into her account. 

Bold mine.

This is a good opportunity to find out more about how banking works. A check can only be negotiated by the person/entity to whom it is made out. So, if a check is not made out to me and it falls into my hands, I can't negotiate it without breaking multiple laws. If somehow I am able to fool the bank into thinking I'm someone I'm not, then the account holder still has the opportunity to claim that the check was fraudulently negotiated. They still have recourse with the bank as the bank did not do their job properly and allowed a check to be fraudulently negotiated.

Ask your banker for more details. Not the cashier, they won't know anything.

BrightFIRE

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2019, 02:26:40 PM »

I do give to you that text conversations are counterproductive. But you know, you literally know where they live. You could set up a meeting at their place to go over this. I agree this would clarify things and be more productive. And then, ahead of the meeting, you reframe your point of view as the tenant making you a huge favour by doing this. Then a productive conversation will be possible.

Good idea. 

You guys are really being tough!   I've gotten many answers that say I'm being a jerk.  I'll heed your advice.  That's actually why I asked-- to get different vantage points.   I'll be super nice in all future interactions and try to haul this thing back to ok. 

There is no stop payment fee, fyi.  I checked. The auto pay program allows that to happen for no charge.  I would DEFINITELY pay the fee if there was one, but the bank said it's free.

But help me out here...play along with a different scenario.  Yes, I lost the check.  (FYI-It's never happened before).  BUT-  If it was, say, lost in the mail to pay any form of bill, then what would you do? Let's pretend it's a payment to a store.   So now it's lost in the mail- It's still mailed  on time, and the funds were instantly deducted from her account because it was a bill pay payment.   There's a check out there somewhere that could fall into the wrong hands.  Someday, if check is never cashed by anybody legit or not, the money will eventually go back into her account.  The bill is still not paid and there's a viable check unaccounted for.  What's the best plan of action?

Stop. Seriously. Everyone is helping you out - what you actually mean is "side with me and my unreasonable behavior". We don't need a hypothetical scenario, because we have a real one.

You lost the damn check. You didn't communicate clearly with your tenant about it. Instead of recognizing she was confused and dealing with that reality, you chose to be incredulous that she's never had to stop a check before... and be annoyed at her for that (!?!).

She doesn't like to talk on the phone and you don't like to text - and you let that be your excuse for throwing your hands up as though there were no other options while also being annoyed at her for that.

Text her to set up a time to talk in person about it. Be polite. Admit the mistake is all yours and she is no way at fault. Admit you were wrong to threaten her with a late fee. Figure out how to fix your mistake in a collaborative way.

Miss Piggy

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2019, 07:57:40 AM »
Random thought/question: If it turns out that the two of you end up going to the bank together, I'm wondering if you can change the setup a bit. Using your routing # and account #, could she set up the payment to automatically go into your account, thereby eliminating the paper check altogether? I mean, this information isn't secret - it's written right there on your checks. Businesses give out their account numbers all the time so their clients can pay invoices electronically.

Tuskalusa

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2019, 08:58:33 AM »
At the end of the day, this woman is your customer. You lost the check from your customer. The onus is on you to make this right. Your customer put her rent checks on auto pay so you would always get rent on time. She has done her part.

With autopay, funds are deducted from your account when the check is issued. They are only deposited back if the funds are unused, and a lot of time has to pass. As a landlord, I think you should be sure to understand these types of details with your customer payments.

As far as texting, thatís the way many customers prefer to do business these days. Iím one of those people who rarely answers voicemails. But if I get and email or text, Iím easily reachable. When Iím the customer, I like vendors who do business the way I want to.

So the easiest thing to do is to text and inquire about whether the funds have been cashed.  Offer to pay any bank fees for a stop payment. Offer to let her deduct from next monthís rent check. If the funds have been cashed, be ready to provide an affidavit that she can give to her bank to address the issue, and again offer to pay all fees associated with this.

These issues happen from time to time. Losing a check makes you human. However, addressing your error with class and grace is another part of the deal. Iím sure you can make this right. It will just take a little more time and patience.

JoJoP

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2019, 09:02:34 AM »
I had a vendor lose a bank-sent check one time.   It took a little bit of straightening out, because in fact my bank showed that the amount of the check had been debited from my account.   So as far as I knew it had been cashed.  After some digging, I determined that the check hadn't actually cleared yet, even though that's what my bank account appeared to show.  But it wasn't at all obvious at first.

I suspect that something similar is going on with your tenant.  As far as she can tell, the money is out of her account, even though the check probably hasn't cleared (very likely, anyway).

At this point your best bet is to offer an apology, get her to cancel the old check and cut you a new one.  And then you should send her a gift card as thank you for helping you out of your epic fuck up.

Exactly this... she thought it was cashed because of the way it was processed. 

Neo

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2019, 08:42:59 PM »
Tough situation. I take a lot of rent in the form of money orders and have always worried about losing them bc the money is truly gone from the tenants' accounts. There is a cancellation process but it takes a long time and I believe costs some money.

OP I would just apologize for the situation and ask if she can please help get it rectified. You made a mistake in losing the check but losing a check doesnt mean she should get free rent which is what it seems like she is trying to do. The money will eventually show back up in her account and when it does she should pay you but obviously no late fee. If she absolutely refuses to help then I would probably find other ways to get it back. Namely being more critical than usual on the deposit deductions when I didnt renew her lease at the next opportunity to do so.

ender

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2019, 09:13:51 PM »
Tough situation. I take a lot of rent in the form of money orders and have always worried about losing them bc the money is truly gone from the tenants' accounts. There is a cancellation process but it takes a long time and I believe costs some money.

OP I would just apologize for the situation and ask if she can please help get it rectified. You made a mistake in losing the check but losing a check doesnt mean she should get free rent which is what it seems like she is trying to do. The money will eventually show back up in her account and when it does she should pay you but obviously no late fee. If she absolutely refuses to help then I would probably find other ways to get it back. Namely being more critical than usual on the deposit deductions when I didnt renew her lease at the next opportunity to do so.

I don't think the tenant here is trying to get free rent.

I think the tenant here is:
  • Seeing the withdrawal in her account
  • Annoyed the OP is harassing her about a check she sees as cashed
  • Unaware the OP actually lost her check and didn't just cash it
  • Even more annoyed the OP is making their problem her problem

I highly doubt that free rent is on her mind. If this happened to me, I'd mainly be really irritated that the OP is making the problem my problem without even bothering to apologize.

The way this should have gone is:

  • "Hey, I apologize but I lost your rent check - can you have it cancelled and reissued?"
  • "What? It was cashed and the funds withdrawn already"
  • "Ah. When you have an auto issued check, the bank preemptively blocks the funds and shows as cleared before it's actually cashed. If you call and have it cancelled, it will automatically return those funds to you"
  • "ok, sure"

But the OP took an aggressive stance initially and so it's not surprising the tenant is pissed off. Nearly all of us would be, too.

lollylegs

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #32 on: February 24, 2019, 10:19:37 PM »
just curious that people still use cheques, haven't used them for 20years here ( Aus) my tenants just direct deposit the rent into the bank account - is this not possible in US or just not commonplace?

sol

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2019, 09:37:00 PM »
I do not accept rent in the form of paper checks.  As a landlord of multiple properties, electronic deposit is a requirement of my leases.  I can't be bothered to go to the bank every month.  I don't take cash, either.

robartsd

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2019, 09:22:09 AM »
With mobile deposit available from most banks these days, it should be easy to deposit checks as you receive them - only real reason I have to go to a physical bank these days is to deposit or withdraw cash.

sol

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2019, 09:35:53 AM »
With mobile deposit available from most banks these days, it should be easy to deposit checks as you receive them - only real reason I have to go to a physical bank these days is to deposit or withdraw cash.

Yea, it's not so much the "going to the bank" part that bothers me, it's the "having to think about it at all" part.  I want my income to be painless and hassle free.  I want to spend it, not work to earn it.  I already spend enough time dealing with tenants and rental repairs, I don't want to also add in the totally unnecessary chore of manually handling their payments when a direct deposit options is available, convenient, free, and removes all possibilities for mishap or misunderstanding.  Either the money magically appears in my checking account before I notice it, or you get a late payment notice.

As to the OP, my partner and I disagree on this one.  She feels that you screwed up and are out that month's rent as a natural consequence of your own carelessness, and just consider it a loss when you file your schedule E.  I think you should work with your tenant to get it fixed, but accept that it's going to be late.  Then if you encounter any resistance at all, be sure to immediately send a letter announcing their new move-out date at the earliest possible date allowed by your lease. 

Tenant-landlord relationships are supposed to be mutually beneficial, and you are not obligated to renew a lease with someone who is not making you happy.  When one of my tenants was pissing me off last year, I raised her rent 10% in an effort to encourage her to move out.  She decided to stay and pay it, and I decided to deal with her bullshit in exchange for the extra money.  Everyone wins!

Roadrunner53

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2019, 09:42:22 AM »
just curious that people still use cheques, haven't used them for 20years here ( Aus) my tenants just direct deposit the rent into the bank account - is this not possible in US or just not commonplace?

There are many situations that require checks. I would gladly pay with my Visa card but my Town Tax collector will charge something like 2.5% more if we use a credit card. Same with my hairdresser. I just joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group and the only payment they accept are checks. My one doctor never took credit cards till recently now I pay with my Visa and I have an awning service that never took credit cards that now will take Visa. Slowly things are changing.

beltim

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2019, 09:56:46 AM »
This has been an interesting thread to read. In general, I fully support the majority opinion that the OP made a mistake and the onus is on OP to fix it. The communication issues seem to be on both sides. Iím very curious if there are any updates yet, plus a few other things:

1) A 3 day notice would be absurd. Your tenant has proof of payment, and an admission from you that you lost the check.
2) You losing a check is your fault, not your tenants, and she is doing you a favor to reissue the payment. A reasonable one, to be sure, but certainly a favor that demands at least a few days patience - and at the time of your first post, it had only been a few days since you made clear to her what happened and how she could help you fix your mistake.
3) I know what stopping payment on a check is, but Iíve never done it. Stopping payment seems to me to only occur when thereís a mistake - in this case, the OP.

Telecaster

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2019, 10:51:41 AM »

3) I know what stopping payment on a check is, but Iíve never done it. Stopping payment seems to me to only occur when thereís a mistake - in this case, the OP.

The issue is that there is a check floating around loose out there somewhere.   It is possible that someone could modify the check, or otherwise use fraudulent means to cash it. 

beltim

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2019, 10:56:51 AM »

3) I know what stopping payment on a check is, but Iíve never done it. Stopping payment seems to me to only occur when thereís a mistake - in this case, the OP.

The issue is that there is a check floating around loose out there somewhere.   It is possible that someone could modify the check, or otherwise use fraudulent means to cash it.

Right...are you disagreeing with something I said there?  I know why the OP wants to stop the check.  Because they made a mistake and lost it, and without the tenant's help, they could lose the rent money.

Samuel

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #40 on: February 26, 2019, 11:37:35 AM »
Offer $100 for them to meet at your mutual bank to figure it out. Either the money is being held outside their account or it was fraudulently deposited by some third party due to your negligence. If it's the former the bank can assure the tenant there will only be one payment and process the stop payment and reissuing of the check. If it's the latter then the tenant is off the hook and you have to pursue this as a theft from you, which the bank can also help with.

Either way, up the urgency and offer some concession to the tenant for having to help correct your mistake.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 11:39:15 AM by Samuel »

nnls

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #41 on: February 26, 2019, 08:18:29 PM »
just curious that people still use cheques, haven't used them for 20years here ( Aus) my tenants just direct deposit the rent into the bank account - is this not possible in US or just not commonplace?

There are many situations that require checks. I would gladly pay with my Visa card but my Town Tax collector will charge something like 2.5% more if we use a credit card. Same with my hairdresser. I just joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group and the only payment they accept are checks. My one doctor never took credit cards till recently now I pay with my Visa and I have an awning service that never took credit cards that now will take Visa. Slowly things are changing.

I think its the opposite in Australia, most places will not accept cheques, and if they do it usually costs you more. Using either a card instore or paying online via direct bank transfer is the preferred way

Villanelle

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #42 on: February 26, 2019, 08:44:10 PM »
Offer $100 for them to meet at your mutual bank to figure it out. Either the money is being held outside their account or it was fraudulently deposited by some third party due to your negligence. If it's the former the bank can assure the tenant there will only be one payment and process the stop payment and reissuing of the check. If it's the latter then the tenant is off the hook and you have to pursue this as a theft from you, which the bank can also help with.

Either way, up the urgency and offer some concession to the tenant for having to help correct your mistake.

This would pretty much be my approach.

First, I would apologized profusely and humbly, owning my over reaction. Then find a way to make it worth her while to go out of her way to get this resolved. 

 "I'm sorry.  I was stressed out about this and embarrassed and annoyed with myself for losing the check, and I took that out on you, which was not appropriate.  of course I will not charge a late fee.  I never should have even brought that up.  You paid on time and this was my screw up.  And I'm sorry that my mistake is causing you stress and costing you time.  I believe we both bank with McDuck Bank.  If there is a lunch hour or evening this week you could meet me there (they close at X:00), I'd deduct $100 from next month's rent for your time and trouble, and we can hopefully get this resolved.  If that doesn't work, I could also be available during the day on Tuesday all day. Hopefully, one of those times is convenient for you, and I can meet at any mcDuck branch in OurTown. 

Also, in the future, if you'd be willing to set up an automatic transfer for your rent, we could set that up at the bank while we are there [maybe even offer a $10/mo discount if it's worth it to you, but first confirm with the bank that you can set up this kind of transfer], but if you prefer to continue paying by check, of course that's fine to.

Again, I'm truly sorry both for my mistake and my earlier communication about it.  And I appreciate whatever you can do to help me resolve this situation."

Schwatt

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2019, 11:25:51 AM »
I charge $25 per physical check and it is added to the rent amount. If they have a checking account, they can do ACH and it makes everything so much easier.

If they don't have a checking account, I tell them several banks that have free checking. If they are going to get charged $25 each for paper checks/money orders, that usually motivates them to figure it out.

Cozy.co makes it even easier still, automating your entire portfolio.

anonperson

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #44 on: February 27, 2019, 12:25:50 PM »
I agree - since I found Cozy.co I now require that Tenants use it in the Lease.  So far, no objections as tenants like it, too.

Sugaree

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2019, 12:38:18 PM »
Wait, you're saying Autopay, but could this actually be Billpay?  At my bank, I initiate a payment every month to the water company who won't move into the 21st century and requires a check and nobody's got time for that.  My bank prints out a check and mails it to them with my account number and stuff on it.  They cash it like they would a regular check.  The money doesn't actually leave my account until they cash it.  If that the case with your tenant then someone else may have been able to deposit and/or cash it. 

theoverlook

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2019, 07:12:47 AM »
Wait, you're saying Autopay, but could this actually be Billpay?  At my bank, I initiate a payment every month to the water company who won't move into the 21st century and requires a check and nobody's got time for that.  My bank prints out a check and mails it to them with my account number and stuff on it.  They cash it like they would a regular check.  The money doesn't actually leave my account until they cash it.  If that the case with your tenant then someone else may have been able to deposit and/or cash it.

Different banks work differently with the BillPay checks. Even the same bank can change how they handle payments. With 53rd, they used to automatically take the funds out of your account when you scheduled the payment, but now they treat it like an ordinary check. I'm sure some banks still take the funds out of your account as soon as you schedule the payment.

Car Jack

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2019, 12:15:45 PM »
1) Let the tenant know you lost the check.
2) Ask the tenant to keep an eye on their account for the money to be deposited back in when the time limit on the check expires (find out from the bank when this would be).
3) Ask the tenant to send 1/2 of that refunded amount.  If the tenant will agree to stop payment on the sent check and issue a new check, have them make it for 1/3 of the normal rent.
4) When the lease needs to be re-written, offer a very small rent increase for electronic deposit.  For paper check or any method that results in you having to handle some paper check, increase the monthly rent by $500.  Then the tenant can decide.

i_have_so_much_to_learn

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2019, 01:13:37 AM »
1) Let the tenant know you lost the check.
2) Ask the tenant to keep an eye on their account for the money to be deposited back in when the time limit on the check expires (find out from the bank when this would be).
3) Ask the tenant to send 1/2 of that refunded amount.  If the tenant will agree to stop payment on the sent check and issue a new check, have them make it for 1/3 of the normal rent.
4) When the lease needs to be re-written, offer a very small rent increase for electronic deposit.  For paper check or any method that results in you having to handle some paper check, <b>increase the monthly rent by $500</b>.  Then the tenant can decide.

Increase by 500? I would say either allow the checks or don't - but that's just price gouging. Changing the way a tenant pays after they already live there is fine, but being disrespectful like this about it, is just painful. I think it's fair to say: "Check have been lost in the past and it's a big inconvenience. As a result, I'm moving to a paperless system." or "I will be charging a 25$ fee for handling and processing of paper checks."

But be reasonable about it...

JoJoP

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Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #49 on: March 05, 2019, 09:19:21 AM »
Good news:  The replacement check has come. 

I did apologize and thank her for the inconvenience.   I also sent a small gift card.  I did not offer half a free month's rent. It all sorted out when she understood that her first monies would be returned to her account before issuing a replacement.

I set up cozy.co based on the input from this thread for a different rental that started on the 1st.   That's a great service for a small landlord.  Thanks for the tip, whoever shared it.  I'm going to ask this tenant if she'll switch over, but I think I'll wait for a bit and get back in our groove.  I will not charge her a fee for doing it or not doing it, but she remains the only tenant that pays by check and I hope we can switch it over to something more automated.