Ifmy rent was stolen from the rental company’s drop-box, am I the one responsible to repay them the the stolen rent if it was not recovered

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Ifmy rent was stolen from the rental company’s drop-box, am I the one responsible to repay them the the stolen rent if it was not recovered

My rent check was stolen from the drop off box and they have me on camera dropping it off. An hour later someone came and stole my rent along with 4 to 5 other people’s checks and money orders (as mine was). The rentalcompany stated that they filed a police report but they asked us to try to cancel the money orders and get copies that took a minimum of 60 day for each money order in which we had 3 totaling $1,100. It took 70 days and we found out that all 3 where cashed and you could blatantly see that someone wrote over the letters to make someone’s name. Now they are saying because they were cashed we are responsible for the stolen money and we have to pay them the back rent. Can they actually make us pay the rent if it was stolen off there property and can they evict us if we refuse and take them to court?

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Michael D. Siegel / Siegel & Siegel, P.C.

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I agree with the prior poster.  Nevertheless, you had better do your homework for this matter, as the landlord is going to come after you.  Get a copy of the tape from the police, if you can.  And make sure you document this in a letter to the landlord.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Once you have validly put the rent into the hands of the rental company, what happens to it next is their responsibility, not yours. (Which does not mean, of course, that you cannot voluntarily try to help them out by stop payment or cancellation of a money order, as you did try.) You say that there is proof that the money order was placed in the drop box--in that case, you paid the rent for that month, and should neither be evicted nor sued for that amount (or have late fees imposed, etc.). The money order being stolen from their drop box is no different from it being stolen from an employee of theirs on the way to the bank, or embezzled from their bank account, etc. Again, once it is provably in their control, you have honored your obligations, and they are then responsible for the loss.


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