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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117370
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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My daughter is in college and I aa the co-signer of her apt.

Customer Question

My daughter is in college and I aa the co-signer of her apt. We have always paid our rent before it is even due though the entire term of the lease.
Here is the situation:
On the last month rent of the contract term I mailed the check as always 10 days before the rent is due and the apt complex received it, but they will not cash the check this time because I wrote in the memo section of my check as a reminder to me that this is the final payment for the apt. They stated because I wrote the words final in the memo section that they have the right to refusal. I told them it was a note to myself and I am fully of aware of the final walk through and there might be a charge for incidentals. However, they refuse to accept payment. I have never heard of apt not accepting payment for rent. Alabama is the location.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

When someone notes on a negotiable instrument that it is "final payment" or "payment in full" or words to that effect, if the the complex cashes it, then that opens them up to be bound by that wording and it means you can claim that you owe them nothing more because they accepted your terms that is is final payment. You can 1) offer to send them a notarized statement that you understand that regardless of what you wrote on the check you understand that there might be other liabilities and you agree that those are not covered by the check and agree that you would still be liable for any legitimate charges proven to be due or 2) you can ask them to tear up the check and send them another payment without such a notation. However, they are being overly cautious because under the law such a notation on a check can become a binding contractual agreement with the issuer of the check.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the fast response even though it is not the outcome that I wanted to hear. So I am barred from writing anything in the memo section of my check even though the memo section is strictly for my use on my check. The legal system sucks, not you, just the legal system. When an honest citizen is simply paying their rent and have to be put though this harassment by the apt complex is a sick world. Just a note, we have already agreed that there is a final walk though of the apt, but the apt complex refuses to work with us. They are hoping their delay will cause fees that they can charge us. I would love to be able to sue them over something that would stick one day so if you have any suggest of errors made by an apt complex send them to me. Top 10 ways to sue an apt complex and win. Thanks again and none if this is direct at you at all, I appreciate your quick response.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Most businesses are not smart enough to catch what you did and know that the notation could bind them to what you wrote on the check in the memo. So yes, under the law, when someone writes a notation it puts conditions or terms on the party cashing the check and you should not put anything on there that could be construed as such a limiting term.
I would contact them and they would want assurance in writing that you agree to final payment if any is proven to be due or reissue the check to them.

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