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Should my landlord take some of the blame for this?

turns out our rent check for january bounced. what happened was, the money was in there when i turned it in and the very next day his car insurance went through, which is an automatic payment. it sent our account balance $30 below what the amount of the check was. the check was sent back to the landlord and never processed. i was never notified by neither the bank nor my landlord that they didn't receive january's payment. in february, the rent was paid on time and processed, yet i got a late notice. when i called to discuss the matter, the lady on the phone told me she got the payment and everything was fine. the same thing happened again this month, rent paid on time, processed, and another late notice. today i went down in person to discuss the matter, and they are just now telling me that january's check was returned. they want $1,064 by the 15th or we'll be evicted. our rent isn't that much but there are $150 in late fees.

now back in january, i specifically remember on like january 20th that our check had not gone through when i looked at our balances online. i called the leasing office to find out what was going on, and she told me that they did receive the check and everything was fine. when they gave me my ledger today, it showed the check returned to them on january 7th. so when i called her january 20th, she was already aware it bounced for weeks and must have forgot to tell me, and then proceeded to make me think we were all set for january. now i am irritated that i could've had a proper handle on this back on the 20th if she had remembered to tell me the check bounced.

in february when i received another "late notice" for february's rent, i called the office the next day and she told me that they made a mistake, they did receive february's payment and everything was fine. but again, according to the ledger i received today they knew that january's check bounced on january 7th. so again in february, they did not tell me and i could've properly handled it then and not had so many late fees.

i realize i should've been more proactive when january's check never cleared through my bank. so i do take full responsibility for my actions, and realize some of the blame is on me. however the landlord made me think everything was fine with january's rent when i called her in mid-january to confirm the payment. and now she's giving me exactly one week to get my shit together and either pay or be evicted. its impossible for us to come up with that money, we scrimp and save to pay our regular rent and there is no way i can gather extra for a month that wasn't paid for. what am i supposed to do? isn't it a fair statement to say that if the leasing office had told me back on january 20th that my rent check bounced, this all could've been taken care of months ago? and they're just now bringing it to my attention and i have to pay the penalty for it?


Asked by tnm786 at 12:34 PM on Mar. 8, 2011 in Money & Work

Level 43 (159,608 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (41)
  • Watching the balance online is tricky- and a lot of people will find themselves bouncing checks here or there if you're not careful. I would also recommend keeping a check book register and using the debit card to pay rent with.

    To answer your question YES I do think that the landlord should take some of the blame. You contacted them several times asking about the late notice and they never explained. Yes, you should have noticed that they check hadn't cleared, yes you should keep a register- but from what it sounds like you would have paid the rent clear back in January if they would have simply told you there was a problem.

    Now while I do think that they are partially to blame- I don't think that you're going to get out of any of those late fees. It's worth it to ask though. Be polite, explain your side of it, tell them you'll pay them as soon as your tax return hits the bank which should be on ______.

    Good luck!

    Answer by Erica_Smerica at 4:41 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • Well you should have the money in the bank for Jan rent since you budgeted for it right? I would go down and pay that to them. I would make sure you get a receipt and maybe explain to them what you just said here. If they still try and evict you after you pay then Id let them try. You can then go to the magistrate and explain the situation and maybe by then you would have that extra $150, if not the judge can decide what to do from there. Either way the judge will give you more time to move then one week.

    Answer by gemgem at 12:39 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly but it seems like there is some blame to go around. It seems like it started though with you not having enough money in the bank to cover both the rent and the car insurance. Everything else that happened was just a domino effect. The landlord should have noticed well before now about January but you also have to make absolutely sure you have enough in your bank to cover checks and automatic payments. It's irritating but I've also learned my lesson about bank accounts and bills.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:42 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • awwwww, very sad situation, but you should have realized you didn't have enough money in the bank for both bills, and tried to work something out with the landlord.

    It is your fault not theirs, and I know the truth pisses people off, but a lot of people are in the same boat as you now a days, and you have to hang out tight and do what you have to do to make things work.

    As for being evicted I have never heard of anyone being able to evict anyone for late rent, unless there is more too the story..... NOT IN NEW JERSEY ITS NOT...

    Answer by KFree907 at 12:49 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • If money is so tight, then you need a better grip on what money is in your checking account, and what has cleared or hasn't cleared. Do you keep a checkbook, or something similar?

    Answer by Candi1024 at 12:54 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • Thats good then...... NOT trying to be rude but you should really start using your check book to balance your account if money is tight.... You are costing yourself more money with fees from the bank and landlord. I use online banking too but it doesn't tell you what checks are outstanding.

    Sorry I am really not trying to bash you at all.

    Answer by Charis76 at 1:03 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • I would say you had an argument for the late fees past the point in Jan when you called. But the actual rent you should still have that in your account since the check never went through right? I am sure they would take that while you discuss late fees.


    Answer by Charis76 at 12:40 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • i think by law they cant evict u for missing ( or bouncing) one months rent...i think eviction takes up to a year... like you could not pay ypur rent for up to 6 months and they can just evict u ... i would go down and just settle it and be down with it .. mistakes happen all the time

    Answer by zperez0809 at 12:42 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • First of all they should exclude the late fees since you asked 3 times and were told that everything was fine. You do need to pay the amount that should have been paid in January just as soon as you possibly can. I personally don't understand why all but $30 isn't still sitting in the account, but I guess things must be tight for you. Don't worry that they might throw you out in a week. They can't. It takes two to three month to process an eviction through the courts in most places. Go pay her what you have and give her a date for when you will have the rest. But make her drop her late fees.

    Answer by LoveMyDog at 12:43 PM on Mar. 8, 2011

  • Most states have civil laws against evictions. The minimum amount is 30 days. I'd look into it. However did you actually pay January's rent after you realized the check had bounced?


    Answer by luvmygrlz at 12:43 PM on Mar. 8, 2011