Is the eMail receipt legal proof of payment?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is the eMail receipt legal proof of payment?

Since the current landlord took over this 3-family house 6 years ago, we’ve made sure to only give him money orders and getting rent receipts from him. We still have every one of them. I’m not sure if he has to provide one as we pay with money orders. New Link Destination
day, he asked if he could send us a receipt by eMail. Is the eMail receipt legal and/or should we bother to collect them from him or just save our copy of the money orders?

Asked on May 25, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, an email receipt can serve as proof of payment, assuming that you can authenticate the address it's coming from--e.g. it's coming from the same email address that you get other messsages from the landlord and by which your correspond with him. That said, keep the money order copies/receipts, too--I practice landlord-tenant law and one of the strange things about it is that the courts effectively reverse the burden of proof. Usually, the one taking legal action--like a landlord trying to evict you--has to prove his or her case. But you can't prove a negative--i.e. there is no proof of not being sent money. And courts assume that for something as important as rent, tenants will keep receipts/proof and can present them if needed. So effectively, if the landlord ever tries to evict you for non-payment, you will need to prove you did pay; therefore get and keep any/all proof you can.

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