Author Topic: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!  (Read 5606 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 79
  • Location: SF Bay, CA, USA
Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #50 on: March 05, 2019, 12:57:36 PM »
My landlord and I use Zelle - most banks have it this days and you can even automate it.

it's not rent collection (like but it works for most use cases.


  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 266
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Halifax, NS
Re: I've lost an auto-paid rent check, tenant won't replace it!
« Reply #51 on: March 07, 2019, 10:16:18 PM »
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   She inquires to the bank, and is told that the check was sent and the funds withdrawn from her account.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?

As your tenant, I would probably initially try and work with you and the bank to try and get this straightened out if you were reasonable and conciliatory from the get go. The second you started getting aggressive, I would tell you to diplomatically go fuck yourself, and that you losing a cheque is the same as you losing cash and that it's your problem not mine, and youll get next months rent cheque on the 1st as per normal.

Why? Because legally a cheque is a negotiable instrument, little different than cash.

An acquaintance once had this exact situation happen, so he did the stop payment, and issued another cheque. Second cheque was cashed, then several months later he gets contacted from a payday loan shop threatening to be sued for an NSF cheque (the original) that was cashed at their location, and subsequently bounced when they took it to the issuing bank. He was informed that his issue was with the original contractor who he could sue for double charging him, but the 2 cheques he wrote was essentially like giving 2 x the cash on the promise that the first batch of cash would be returned. His issue was entirely with the contractor who legally had to return the cash.

That's the issue here. You want them to essentially trust that you are not going to scam them, which is wholly in your ability to easily do, and they have zero recourse if you do, short of taking you to court.

Here's the thing, a stop payment has no legal force. Banks may do it as a courtesy, but if it doesn't work, you have zero recourse. That's why these payday loan places will cash a third party cheque - because the law here says there is no legal way to cancel it, and as long as it was a legal cheque, there is no way for the issuer to get out of that obligation.

*If* the money eventually came back to my account, and *if* I could get assurances that the cheque was indeed dead (which itself is tricky since so many cheques are automatically processed and dates are rarely looked at) 6 months down the road perhaps I may repay you, however this is wholly a mess of your own making.