Tenant Claims Put Cash rent payment in Rent Drop Box

6 Replies

Hello all,

I would appreciate some feedback on this unusual situation concerning my tenant of 3 years. (Background , I own a small 4 family building. I have a rent drop box installed on the inside of the caller door with a mail slot to drop the rent envelope into. It is under surveillance by a camera system. This has been in place for the last 3 years with no problems. Some of the tenants usually drop their rent in cash ( I know..I know but they have other options such as money order, cashier's check, direct deposit they choose not to use).

Recently, I renewed my tenant in 2F lease and increased the rent by 1.25% ( from $960 to $984) effective this month ( July). Rent is due on the 1st of the month with a grace period until the 3rd day of the month, 4 pm EST. On the 3rd day of the month  around 3pm I dropped by the building to check the rent drop box. It was empty. Later in the evening after 4pm I checked the camera to see if tensnt put rent in drop box before 4pm, she had not. I sent the tenant a text followed by written correspondence that rent was due on 1st and was now late, incurring a $50 late fee. The tenant responded back that they had deposited the rent in the box days before. I informed them so had checked the box and there was no rent envelope on it. I asked the tenant for the day and time frame when they deposited the rent. The tenant informed me they deposited the rent in the box on the 3rd the day I checked the box. I  reviewed the video from June 30 - July 6. At that point I suggested  that she contact the police and fill out a report if she was sure she had deposited the rent in the drop box. And informed her the rent was still owed in addition to the late fee and needed to be paid by July 13  (1 week's time).  The tenant sent me a text talking about how they had always paid their rent on time ( not true). Bottom line, I reviewed all the video, there is no where it shows tenant even going to the rent drop box to drop rent off. I have tried to be fair and give tenant every chance but I'm not taking an almost $1k hit on rent. Interested to hear some more experienced opinions on this matter, if you please. Thank you. ( Tenant is a good tenant for the most part. She is one of those who complain about the heat not being enough on the hot days, yet has her patio door open and on the cold days she doesn't say a  word about the heat.)

You need to ask your real estate attorney these questions, not the BP community. She lied to you. That lie is verifiable. There was once a time when I believed that everyone was smart enough to realize that they had been caught in an obvious lie, and the punishment was humiliation enough. Then I came to understand that most people don't really care that they've been caught and exposed as half-a-human-being unless you rub their faces in it and humiliate them with the stupidity of their lie, over and over again.

I also learned that most long-term renters are only really capable of feeling two basic emotions toward their landlords: dread and contempt. Shame and dishonor when dealing with landlords went by the wayside long ago.

You let this go and she'll be proudly telling all the other tenants and anyone who will stop to listen to her about how she managed to get one over on the soft-hearted and stupid landlady, and that sets a precedent.

This should be easy. The tenant didn’t pay rent. All the rest doesn’t matter. She claimed she did, but so what? You know that’s a lie and can prove she didn’t pay the rent. Save the video to prove it and serve her with a pay or quit notice like you would any other tenant that doesn’t pay rent. If she still doesn’t pay, file to evict. 

Why do you even accept rent in cash? That’s a bad idea usually. I just would flat out refuse rent in cash. Money order, direct deposit only etc

I totally agree with @Caleb Heimsoth and @Kyle J.

You shouldn’t be giving your tenants the option to pay in cash. At least with a money order or direct deposit, you and the tenant would have a receipt of exactly how much was paid and when it was paid (for the most part). Even if they put cash in an envelope and drop it in the dropbox, they can always NOT put the full amount and claim that they did. Without you receiving the cash directly into your hands, it just leaves way too much room for shadiness.

Since you have undeniable proof that she never dropped off her payment, she either pays it now (including the $50 late fee) or you start the eviction process for non-payment. She doesn’t sound like a good tenant.