Laurel, MD asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia

Q: I paid my rent twice in one month although the second payment came back insufficient funds, but this was back in March

No one from the rent office say anything and continue to take my current rent, then in June , which was 3 months later they tell me that they filed an unlawful detainer because I still owe for March, it’s almost august

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1 Lawyer Answer

Richard Sternberg

Answered
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: I cannot understand from your posting whether the bounced check caused your rent to be unpaid or whether it was an extra payment. In any event, most leases provide for an additional rental fee for bounced checks, and it is not clear from your posting whether that was resolved. If, when all is said and done, your rental and any extras from the bounced check are paid current, and you've simply confused the landlord by sending two payments in March, one of which bounced, you should be able to resolve it informally before court or with the lawyer in court. Do not ignore the summons, and get any resolution in writing. Landlord Tenant court is a very busy place, and arriving late or being unclear is likely to cause errors. The delay of three month in filing suit is irrelevant; the landlord can file for unpaid rent anytime within three years, and he can file as an unlawful detainer as long as you are a tenant.

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