What do you do when someone doesn’t cash a check?

So, our landlord cashed Jan’s rent check (and all the checks prior), and March’s rent, but not February or April’s or May’s…

Would you check in with him to ask what’s up?


update:  he has cashed April and May, so now only feb is missing.  Also there is a $15 check cancellation fee from our credit union if we cancel the check.

21 Responses to “What do you do when someone doesn’t cash a check?”

  1. Leah Says:

    Six of one; half dozen of the other:

    1. Yes because it’s a pain to leave that much money sitting in your bank account so you don’t overdraft. That’s mental energy you have to spend every time you check on your money.

    2. No, because maybe they’ll never cash it.

    Is there ever a statute of limitations on a check? How long are you willing to wait? Could they cash this check next year?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I pay attention to the checkbook register, not the balance in the account when writing checks, so it’s already accounted for. I only check the balance in the account occasionally to make sure paychecks, reimbursements, and other deposits made it in there and get put into the check register.

      I don’t want him to not get his money, I just don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of emailing, a check cancellation fee etc. Now that he’s cashed April and May (which he did late last week) it seems much less likely that he’s simply put Feb’s in a to-be-cashed pile and more likely it has actually gone astray. (Also we’re still making checks out to “The estate of” the former landlord because we haven’t been told not to.)

  2. zenmoo Says:

    I’m kind of amazed that you write actual checks for a landlord. It’s all direct electronic transfers here in Australia – I don’t think we’ve had a cheque book for about 10 years.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Our former neighbors were paying with electronic deposit, but we weren’t given that option.

    • Leah Says:

      There’s still lots of check-only places here. It’s slowly converting in the US. We also have holdouts who don’t want to convert. For example, our daycare will do an electronic transfer, but my husband doesn’t like that. I make him write the weekly check.

    • crazy grad mama Says:

      Before we moved last year, we were writing paper checks to our landlord because their electronic transfer option came with an extra fee.

    • AccountantByDay Says:

      The US has different fee structures in our bank accounts that make checks (seem) cheaper. (You have to pay for book of checks, but it’s easy to forget that you paid that by the time you are using them.) So we can often do “bill pay” for free, which is electronic transfer to a business only, but to do a wire transfer is a rather large per-transaction fee, and then electronic transfers between individuals is usually a hassle. I’m not sure why our banking industry is set up to make it easier to use checks, but I bet if electronic transfers were available, affordable, and marketed, tons of people would welcome them here.

  3. Katherine Says:

    Absolutely yes. You owe the landlord the money, and you’re not trying to cheat him/her, and as Leah said it’s a pain to keep track of what money you need to keep in the account because the checks haven’t cashed. Also, you wouldn’t want them to be able to claim that they never received those checks.

    • Leah Says:

      Yes, after my comment, I decided that I’d follow up. You’d not want to ultimately get in trouble for “not paying” or get the money taken out a year from now.

    • Debbie M Says:

      I’m with the follow-up crowd for this issue. The risk is that they say they can’t find it and ask for another. Then they do find it and cash it. So waiting until the 30-day notice gives them more time to find it.

      My general answer to your question of what I do when someone doesn’t cash my check is I never give them checks again. That does not apply to this situation. But in my current life it means that I always pay my neighborhood association dues in person so I can pay in cash. Because it takes them months, and I have to paperclip that part of my checkbook register and remember about that every time I balance my checkbook, and ugh.

  4. Leigh Says:

    If they’ve cashed all if them except February, I would follow up. That seems odd.

  5. Cloud Says:

    I might put a note in with the next check asking if there is a problem with the uncashed checks… but then I’d ignore it for another few months. Some people are just really disorganized, and I guess I don’t see why I should have to help them remember to claim my money.

  6. crazy grad mama Says:

    I would follow up. It just seems like the right thing to do.

  7. chacha1 Says:

    I would follow up, because unfinished business stresses me out. :-) I would say something like “We noticed that you’ve caught up on depositing our rent checks for X months, but that February is still open. Just want to get square since our rental term is ending (date).”

  8. First Gen American Says:

    Is it possible the check was lost in the mail?

  9. Update on missing check | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] emailed the landlord and zie said that yeah, zie had gotten the missing February check but had then lost it.  So I guess we’re going to write a new check and subtract out the $15 […]

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