Landlord cash rent check before rent is due?
This morning my husband checked our bank account; I always send the rent check a few days before it’s due (in this case Monday, December 27th) to ensure that it arrives on time, as my landlord lives out of state. We get paid the 1st of every month; the same day rent is due. Needless to say, we didn’t have the funds in our account to cover the rent check before its due date. Because of our overdraft protection, the bank took all of our money in checkings and savings to cover the check. It wasn’t enough and we were then charged overdraft fees for every transaction made the previous day. The check was post dated for January 1st, 2011, but the bank teller said they no longer honor post dated checks. But in the same token, why, seeing the funds were unavailable, was the check not refused?
We’ve come to the conclusion that the landlord probably opted to cash the check early to pay for the furnace repairs. Reviewing our lease, it’s extremely vague in regards to this issue and whether her actions were acceptable from a legal standpoint. “Tenant will pay the monthly rent so that the Landlord receives the monthly rent on or before the first of every each month during the lease.” It goes on to say that, “Weekends, holidays, and mail delays do not excuse Tenant’s obligation to timely pay rent.” So essentially, if I send the check early to make sure it is there on time, the bank won’t protect me if she chooses to withdraw the money early, whether the funds are available or not.
At the same time, if I send the check a little later and it happens to not arrive by the 1st, I’m not paying “timely” and am liable for any issues with the mail delivery, etc. How is this fair? I’m trying to be a good tenant and pay her on time, but I’m not willing to allow her to overdraft my account again if the check winds up in her hands before rent is due. Do I have any rights whatsoever? Or am I just supposed to take it up both ends as it were?