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J.Hazelbaker, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney and small business owner with 10 years experience in the general practice of law.
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My apartment complex said they had to have a $300 check to

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My apartment complex said they had to have a $300 check to hold the apartment and we agreed that my roommate and I would come back the very next day with the applications, application fees, and two $150 checks for the real deposit. They told me they would not deposit the original check for $300 because we had the two checks for $150. Well, a week or so after we moved into the apartment I checked my online bank account balance and found that I was over drawn by about $1000. The apartments had deposited the original $300 check which put my bank account into the negative. Then, every time I used my debit card or a check, my bank charged me $35. So, after ten purchases I was down to -600 in my account. I then got paid and assumed my direct deposit went into my bank account and kept using my debit card because I had no idea I was negative. The next thing I know I am at the -1000 mark. I was just wondering if there is something I can do to get the apartments to pay the overdraft.

You have a legal claim against the apartment complex for depositing the check without authority and based on your oral agreement to hold the check. That gets you $300 to the postive from the start. If that withdrawal put you in the red, then you would be entitled to the overdraft fees directly related to that withdrawal.


However, that liability would end at the point of your first ATM withdrawal, at which point you would be charged by a court with constructive knowledge of the cricumstances. However, you can recover for the $300, as stated above, and any overdraft and fee between that unauthorized withdrawal and that first ATM transaction.



Please let me know, if you have follow-up questions.


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In legal matters, time is of the essence. As such, you should contact an experienced lawyer right away to protect your legal rights!


I appreciate your "Accepting" my answer if it has been helpful to you. Doing so allows me to continue helping in this manner. Thank you.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Should I get a lawyer or can/should I represent myself in a small claims court? Would a Justice of the Peace Court be applicable? Can the apartment appeal and make this a long drawn out legal battle? I'm sorry for the follow up questions but this is my first time in any kind of legal bind. I will accept your answer no matter what. I really appreciate it.

Ideally, you should get an attorney. Realistically, however, that cost would be greater than any amount you could recover (you can 't get your attorney fees paid by the other side in a case like this).


Small claims court is an option. That's the route I would go. The clerk of court provides the forms and instructions for getting started and all you need to do is state the facts. Before filing, however, I would take the blank forms with you and tell the Apt. managment that, unless they compensate you, you will file the complaint. Give them a couple days to comply, then decide whether you will file.


Yes, the Apt. owner can appeal. So, it could get drawn out.


I would also hit up the bank to credit you some of the fees back. I would argue that the ATM should have alerted you to the overdraft situation, rather than allow you to rack up fees.


Don't hesitate to ask additional follow-up questions.

J.Hazelbaker and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Well, I did call my bank and because it wasn't a "Bank Error" all they could help with was one overdraft fee. But I will get the forms and see what the apartment has to say. Thank you for your time!

You're welcome. Thank you for the Accept.


Please don't hesitate to continue the thread in the future, should any issues arise while you negotiate with the Apartment.