Do you take check on move in day?

14 Replies


Any landlords worried about a tenant writing a bad check on move in day/ lease signing and giving them the keys and worried about the check clearing? Check is for at least $1500-2500 always and I was wondering if any landlords make their tenant pay cash or certified check on move in day to get the keys? Not like they write a bad check and they have the keys and are in already and your screwed then.


No checks accepted. Even cashiers checks can be faked so you have to give enough time to clear and not come back.

Cash, Cashier's Check or MO. I'd never take a personal check, it's just way too easy to bounce, write a check out of a closed account, etc. Once they're in you'll have to do a full eviction and you'll be out thousands.

I never take personal checks for a holding deposit, remainder of security deposit, or first month's rent.

I never accept any personal checks for the initial deposits or to hold the property.

Cash or money order ONLY!!!

To be absolutely clear that is a very bad business practice!

I have taken personnel checks from new tenants, but they must clear before move in.

I accepted them twice already and believe I never should have on move in day. One was $1800 and the other was $2700. Im still new to the rental game so always looking for advice.

So a money order is safe but not a cashiers check? Also if a money order is over $1000 or something, It was my impression they had to get a cashiers check?

Also how long does it take a personal check to clear, I called a few difference banks and they all give difference answers, anywhere from 3-14 business days which is ridiculous with all the technology today. It should clear within 1min like a credit card but not, go figure.

Sure, you're in the same position the following month anyway. Since they have no history I do check for proof of funds that day.

Originally posted by @Bob Bowling:
Sure, you're in the same position the following month anyway. Since they have no history I do check for proof of funds that day.

How do you do that? Call the bank that day on the spot when they give you the check?

@Jimmy S.

I'll call to see if the funds are available. Harder to do now than it was a few years ago. There used to be automated systems that you could play high/low and figure out what their balance was above the rent. I'll also stop by their bank and just present the check but not cash it there. They will always tell me if the funds are in there. I've never had a problem and my selection is pretty good but just like to make sure "NEW" people haven't fooled me. Usually I've cashed the deposit check and made sure it has cleared a few days or a week or so before. I think most scammers won't have two months of funds available in the account they are using to scam.

The problem with a check at move in vs. later is that a professional tenant can give you a hot check for the deposit and first months rent and you have a tenant that has to be evicted and you've never seen a dime from them.

Cashier's checks and money orders can be forged. Cash can be counterfeit. Nothing's perfect. Any of these are better than a personal check. Cash, checked with a counterfeit pen, is my preferred approach.

For the first month, I usually take a cashiers check and ask for a voided check so I can set them up for ACH transfer. That way I get direct deposit each month. It cost me money, but at least I save the hassle of going to collect rent physically.

@Jon Holdman

@Samson Kay

I guess it is different markets. I will NOT give keys until the deposit check is cleared. And that means their funds in my account. I've had some interesting conversations with bankers telling me I could draw on the funds because of my relationship with them even tho the check could be bad when I'm trying to determine if the funds are actually there.

I would never ask a tenant to bring cash. I'll let them deposit it into my account but such a record keeping hassle for both of us if they bring cash in person. I'll cross my T's but I would not rent to someone that I was this doubtful of. So basically if I have one good check I feel that's the same as if you're in the 11th month and get a bad check.

If someone gave me two bad/fake checks I'd be at the DA's office and police would be with me at the door.

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