What to do if my renter’s deposit check bounced?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

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What to do if my renter’s deposit check bounced?

My renter’s check deposit bounced and I was charged a returned check fee. He paid the first months rent in cash and has yet still to pay me the deposit and he is already living there. What can I do or what should I do?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Most states have laws setting forth penalties when a person receives a check from someone that does not clear due to insuffiecient funds. The penalties are typically three times the amount of the check up $500.00 total.

Read the terms of your written lease with this tenant assuming you have one. If you do, the failure to pay you the deposit and the bounced check would be material breaches under your lease (written or not) warranting a 3 day notice to pay or quit if you still want the tenant, or a notice of eviction if you do not.

You should send a demand letter to the tenant to make good on the bad check by a certain date. If he fails to comply, you have a problem and need to act accordingly. You do not want to start out a lease this way. In all likelihood you will need to evict this tenant. You should consult with a good landlord tenant lawyer regarding this situation.

Good luck.

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