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Old 12-15-2009, 08:21 AM
 
5 posts, read 20,304 times
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Default Post-dating check for 1st month rent & security deposit

Hi all, I know writing a check for first month's rent and security deposit is customary when signing a lease to rent an apartment in NYC. The lease will be signed today, but the lease term doesn't commence until Feb 2010. Is it acceptable for a Tenant to post-date the check for 1st month rent and security deposit to the date on which lease term begins? Or would a Landlord object and request a check for immediate funds to secure the apartment. Tenant obviously wants to hold onto funds as long as possible and Landlord wants secured funds to hold the apartment. Which position is customary or reasonable here?

Thank you,
Matsui
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Illinois
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I've done this before but not for the length of time you've listed.

I don't see a problem with at least asking about it. The landlord will simply earn interest on the money. But I do believe at least the security deposit or a portion of it will be necessary to hold the unit for you.

Btw, check with the landlord on another issue, too. Depending on your state, I believe most landlords give you a certain amount of time to take possession of the apartment. It's usually 2 weeks to 1 month.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:33 AM
 
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Ask the landlord. I personally wouldn't accept it. Also the landlord may accept, not notice and cash it anyway, and the bank doesn't care. Usually the bank will clear a post dated check before the date anyway. The bank doesn't care about the date.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:53 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
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Absolutely not. Your check should be dated with sufficient funds available on the date when you sign the lease agreement.

Look at it from the LL's perspective. You sign a lease, give no money to secure the lease but post-date the check to be effective when the lease becomes effective.

You find something else in the meantime, cancel the check, the LL is left empty-handed. A nutty post (forgive my outspokenness) but so outside the realm of reality. The LL's position is customary. Cheers!
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Clermont Florida
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If you were renting something would you considerate it rented without money in hand and turn down other people on a maybe If I take a check for the first month and deposit they do not get the keys until I have time to go to there bank and cash it.

Cash in hand holds a unit not a check that can bounce or be canceled
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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For the places I've lived with tenant protections, the answer would be both.

In such places with legal protections, the landlord cannot require that you pay rent months in advance. Rent is due on the first of the month, never before, regardless of when you signed the lease. So the rent payment for Feb 2010 could be post-dated for Feb 1 2010. What is said above is true though, likely the bank wouldn't even notice the date and cash it anyway.

However the deposit would still be due at the time of lease signing, so you couldn't post-date that, unless the landlord for some reason agreed to those terms (which I think is unlikely).
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Maryland
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I believe that banks are not obligated to honor the date on a check and as such, it is illegal to write any check that you know you have insufficient funds to cover immediately. Nuff said.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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Quote:
it is illegal to write any check that you know you have insufficient funds to cover immediately.
Not true. Employers post-date checks they print all the time. Because the workers' agreement with their employer is that they provide a certain period of service to the employer, usually two weeks, and get paid at the end of that service. Employers often have multiple accounts and keep the bulk of their cash in interest-bearing accounts until 11:59PM the day before payday, so as to accumulate as much interest as possible. It isn't illegal.

Hotels often take payment information in advance, but they don't charge the credit card or cash your check until you check in--i.e., at the time you receive the service of their room. It is perfectly legal to provide a charge card or check for which the funds are not available when booking a room in advance. Because you haven't received a service or product from them until you've checked in.

For a utility company, you can call and give them 12 check numbers and they will use that information to make payments on a specified date of each month for the next year. Although you don't put a stamp on it, you are still paying by check, and you are giving them to the recipient in advance. And you are not required to have the money in the account at the time you set up the arrangement. Only on the date upon which you've agreed that the check transaction will take place. This isn't done so much any more, most places do electronic fund transfers, but you can still do it this way if you choose, and it is perfectly legal.

In the case of February's rent, the product/service the tenant is receiving is the apartment for the month of February. The fact that the LL wants the convenience of collecting the check along with the deposit and signed lease does not mean they are owed money for a service/product they have not yet provided.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kodaka View Post
In the case of February's rent, the product/service the tenant is receiving is the apartment for the month of February. The fact that the LL wants the convenience of collecting the check along with the deposit and signed lease does not mean they are owed money for a service/product they have not yet provided.
OP here. Thanks all for the input.

While convenience may play a role, I suspect most LLs request the first month's rent at lease signing to ensure Tenants have some "skin" in the game. Otherwise, using the hypothetical posed earlier, if Tenant finds a better apartment in January, they can simply cancel a post-dated check and the LL would have lost precious time in getting the property rented. LL would have a breached lease with no money in hand to offset the lost time and little likelihood of getting the signed lease enforced.

However, if the security deposit and first month's rent are at stake, a Tenant is much less likely to walk away. Viewed in that light, a Tenant's payment of the security deposit and first month's rent in advance is not so much about paying for a service/product before it's provided but it is to secure the Tenant's commitment to the signed lease so that a LL can be confident in rejecting any future applicants to lease the property.

Thanks again,
Matsui
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:07 PM
JS1
 
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Well then that means the security deposit is X+Y where X is the "security deposit" and Y is the "first month's rent". Then Y is applied to your rent on February 1 as a "100% discount".

It adds up to the same amount of money in the end, but the security deposit is bigger. If it's worth it to you to risk X+Y dollars rather than just X dollars to secure the apartment for you, then you should do it. Otherwise tell the landlord to pound sand.

You could write a post-dated check if you want (see examples above), but if someone asks YOU to write THEM a post-dated check, run away as fast as you can!
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