Returned Security Deposit Check got lost per Tenant

11 Replies

I sent her the check for returned security deposit by certified mail to a P.O. box she provided me. The tracking says it was delivered 10 days ago. Today she contacted me and said she did not receive the check. I advised her the tracking number. She said she will work with the Post Office to track it down but asked me if the check has been cashed and who signed it because it was stolen. Since she lied to me many times in the past, I don’t believe it. Who should be responsible? Thank you for any ideas you may have.

If it has not been cashed, I would cancel the check and provide a new one less the cost to cancel the old check. If it has been cashed, I'd do nothing as that's a legal matter if not cashed by old tenant. Of course, you'd be best served to have a quick chat w/ your attorney before following my advice. 

Hi Scott Weaner! Sorry for not answering your question. No, check wasn’t cashed but I have not tried to stop payment either. I reported to the bank check may have been stolen so please proceed with caution if the check shows up. I’ve been waiting for the truth to come out as I don’t believe at all the mail with tracking just disappeared from her locked mail box. I will obtain a picture of the mail when it got scanned at the last destination for my record. I will issue another check but let her prove it she has nothing to do with the lost check first. As I said she lied to me in the past, why should I take her words seriously this time?

She should be able to provide proof that she has filed a claim with the Post Office for the missing certified mail.  It's my understanding that certified mail must be signed for, and for a PO Box, that should mean going to the Post Office clerk with a note they leave in the box, showing ID and signing for it.   If it were my old tenant, I'd state in writing that once they provide me with proof from the Post Office that they've filed claim for the missing mail and provide the results of the claim, I'll cancel the old check and issue a new one.  If they don't want to wait for the results of the claim, then once I received proof of USPS claim, I'd agree to cancel the first check and issue a new one minus the cancellation and new certified mail fees.      

@Winn Vu If she signed for it, maybe she lost it in the process of moving. If so, ask her to pay for the stop payment. As long as you stop payment on the check, there shouldn't be a problem with you reissuing a new one. If it goes through in the future, that would be on the bank. Not you. 

However, if you do stop payment on the check, it’s possible for that to only be for a limited time. I canceled a large check in the past and was told I have to renew the stop payment on the check every 5 years or so as it expires. I have not renewed it and it hasn’t been cashed after many years. But I thought it was interesting.

Thank you for all your concerns and suggestions. It wasn’t a certified mail with signature receipt, it’s a priority mail with tracking to a P.O. box that she provided me. According to the mail clerk at the final Post Office, they received the mail, scanned it and dropped it in the correct mail box that only the owner has access. She did not tell me she filed a claim but asked the Post Office where it was last seen to track it down but there’s nothing much they can do but look around if it has been left behind by mistake. It bothered me when she insisted who cashed the check even though I did not say it has been cashed. She may have lost it but lied or set me up for a claim. I will make her to declare to authority she has nothing to do with the lost check then I will do my part. I hate people who lies and is not accountable. I’m glad she moved out.

I would trust the Post Office claims of delivery about as much as I would trust your tenant. I happen to know that postal delivery people scan all items prior to leaving the post office, and not when they actually delivery the item. I know this because I know several postal workers, AND because I once got a notification that something was delivered to my home, and the mail hadn't even run yet for that day.

@Winn Vu - contact the bank where the check was certified. They will have an affidavit for the payee. Also check if there are any fees. Remember, once that check was certified, it became the bank's draft, not yours. Good luck Carol