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MDLawyer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6135
Experience:  10 years in legal practice. Over 5 years in advising clients on landlord/tenant issues, including on a pro bono basis.
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Ex landlord sent us a check within the 30 days agreed upon.

Customer Question

Ex landlord sent us a check within the 30 days agreed upon. The 27th day to be exact. The charges were excessive and unnecessary. She tried charging us a quote for cleaning that was never done, and other bogus things. We got a $300 refund out of $1500.We very nicely emailed her asking if she would negotiate with us. She responded 3 days later (31 days past our move out date, and 1 day past the agreement) that she was revising the itemized list and stopping payment on the $300 check. She said she was reissuing a check for $18 (which included charging us for replacing 10+ year old carpet) unless we agreed to the terms of the check sent on the 27th day. We obviously disagreed, and told her that in writing. Since she told us sje was stopping payment on the original check (and 2 weeks later sent a receipt of the stop payment) does this count as her not giving us our deposit in 30 days? Our state is Idaho, which is actually 21 days, but we agreed to 30. She technically DID send us a check but then stopped payment on it because we didnt agree with her terms. We never received the $18 either.We are just wondering if this counts as her failing to return a deposit on time, which would bump our filing amount to $4500.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Disputing the amount of the deposit does not restart the clock nor does it void the initial returning of the deposit. I think that is what you were asking. Please let me know if I have misunderstood your question.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Yeah we know it doesn't restart. Sorry I probably added too much info :)She did send it within 27 days. But- per her email, on that 31st day, we had $0. Whe put a stop payment on it on the 33rd day of us moving. If we cashed that check, we would have had fees.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Based on what you have stated, there was a dispute as to the amount and that is why she stopped payment. The law in Idaho states only that the itemized list of damages and any left over amount be sent within 21 days or 30 days, if agreed. It does not cover the dispute time since, if that were the case, any dispute in the amount would automatically make the landlord late and that obviously would not be the intent behind the law. (For example, a landlord could return the deposit with the deductions to every tenant and then the tenant would simply have to dispute and then that would make the landlord in violation of Idaho Code 6-321.). Since you were disputing the amount of damages, then you would not generally be depositing the check anyway.

Please let me know if this has clarified my answer. If not, let me know and I'll continue to assist you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok so because she sent us the check on that 27th day, she is within the 30 days? Even though she told us she was putting a stop payment on it? I guess that's my biggest question- does putting a stop payment on the check, effect anything? I would see it as that 31st day, we had $0 because the check she sent isnt good.Why wouldn't all landlords do that? Send a check for the full deposit within the time frame, then stop payment on it just so the time frame statute was out of the way?
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

That is correct because what you told me was that you had a conversation with her of some kind about disputing the amount and she stated that she was stopping payment to cut you a new check or did I misunderstand what you wrote?

The stop payment does not affect anything in this case since you told her you disputed the amount taken. If she had simply stopped payment out of the blue even though you agreed with the assessment of damages, that would be a different story. A landlord can't just randomly stop payment. I understood you to say that she only stopped it so that she could issue a new check. That's the difference.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Got it. Ok, yes, she stopped payment to issue a new check of lesser amount, which we never received. Thanks for clarification!
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

You are most welcome. Glad I could be of assistance! Thank you so much for allowing me to assist you. If you could be so kind as to leave a positive rating as that is the only way that we receive credit for the time spent assisting you, it would be much appreciated!

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