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bounced rent check by winky (nc) on September 25, 2009 @13:10

                              
Hi,
I am new to the landlord thing and we rented out our house and the new tenants paid first month and deposit fine. This month the rent check bounced making their payment late. Can I charge them the late fee as it is in the lease and for my bank charges for returned check? Can I make them pay in cash or a money order now that they have bounced a check? Can I increase the rent if they do it again?
Thanks!
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Re: bounced rent check by P-Bone in WNY (NY) on September 25, 2009 @14:32 [ Reply ]
Leases should be written to directly address these things. If you have a late charge, a bounced check would constitute late rent as you do not have it in hand on time.

My rental agreements specifically states when rent must be paid and has a late fee. If I do not have cleared funds by that date (so long as the delay was not my fault), then they are subject to the late fee. Even if they mail it to me and it gets lost in the mail, it is still their responsibility to make sure I have it (I probably wouldn't enforce it in that case if I was confident it got lost in the mail for a good tenant). When it comes to writing checks, I have a specific clause in my rental agreements that state if any checks are bounced, the tenant is no longer allowed to pay by personal check and must pay by cash, certified check, or money order until written approval is provided by the landlord allowing personal checks again.

Re: bounced rent check by Anonymous on September 25, 2009 @15:06 [ Reply ]
If you do not have it written in your lease, it's hard to charge them for extra things. You should have a late fee in there, which you can charge. I have mine written so that if rent is late, or the checks are bounced or returned future payments will have to be paid either with cash, MO or cashiers check.
You cannot increase the rent if you are on a lease, if you are on a M2M agreement you will have to send them a 30 day notice of increase in rent. If you are on M2M, you can send them a notice for a charge of the bounced check also.
Re: bounced rent check by winky (nc) on September 25, 2009 @15:51 [ Reply ]
sorry, i should have been more specific. the lease is m2m, signed on 8-15. The rent was due on 9-15, and has since bounced. It is in the lease if I don't have it on the 15th, there is a $30 charge, but there is nothing about the returned check fee. So I can still charge for that right? Would it be the amount the bank charged me?
Re: bounced rent check by Susan on September 26, 2009 @09:57 [ Reply ]
writing bad checks is a CRIMINAL ACT for which tenant can be prosecuted. Remind them of this. Since they are month to month, send them them a letter of your intent to change the terms of the agreement. In most states you only need 30-day notice to change the terms of a M2M agreement. Include in the change: a XX amount charge for bounced checks (whatever your bank charges you, the late fee (which you already heve in your agreement) and a clause that states if tenant gives you a bad check, all future payments will be cash or certified check ONLY, no more personal checks.
Re: bounced rent check by Ultimate M-Bone on September 26, 2009 @11:20 [ Reply ]
You are on tricky grounds with charging a bounced check fee because you do not have it in your agreement. BUT, because they costed you a bounce check charge by your bank, you can demand they pay that along with the late fee and the rent due. Make the change to your existing rental agreement to include a bounced check fee of $XX for future tenants. I charge $35.00 for that and if tenant bounces a check, they are done, they may never again pay with a personal check.

Tenants first month and they already bounced a check on you? It's just a matter of time before you end up having to evict them. Also put in your agreement for future tenants, Following the section describing rent and late fee.
Method of Payments: Rent is to be paid with cash, money order, or cashiers check drawn at a local financial institution. After six (6) months, resident may pay with a personal check until the first check is dishonored and returned unpaid. Regardless of cause, no other additional payments may afterward be made by personal checks. If a check is dishonored, the resident will be notified and will be required to pay the rent in full plus late fees as well as a $XX bad check charge.


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