Philadelphia, PA asked in Landlord - Tenant for Maryland

Q: Does the landlord have a right to charge returned check fees on a “lost” and canceled check?

Wells Fargo Bill Pay rent check was late. Late enough to be over 5 days past due. Allegedly. Once LL reached out, rent was paid via PayPal. Stop payment on late check was placed. LL later tried to cash late check. LL is now charging late fees plus bounced check fees as it seems he tried to cash the stopped “lost” check. Am I on the hook for those as well?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: If you paid via PayPal, and the Landlord received the PayPal funds before he tried to cash your late check, then your Landlord had no right to try and cash the late check and receive double payment, so he has no right to charge the bounced/returned check fee. If your payment was late, and your lease provides for a late payment fee, then he can charge that. Maybe he thought you were paying the next month's rent in advance? Did you inform him you were canceling the late check from your bank when you made alternate payment through PayPal? These may be circumstances that change the way the situation is viewed, and who is at fault.

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