Tacoma, WA asked in Landlord - Tenant for Washington

Q: Can my landlord make me pay using a cashiers check after one returned rent payment?

My lease states after 2 returned bank items a cashiers check or money order will be required. Before I signed my lease I had 2 application fees fail because I used a credit card. I found out after that you couldn’t use a credit card on their system. I’ve had only 1 returned bank item since signing my lease for a total of 3 but only 1 for a rent payment after my lease was signed. Does my landlord have any legal standing to make me pay with a cashiers check even though I have only had one return payment since signing my lease and two before signing?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Lynnwood, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: RCW 59.18.063 requires that a landlord accept a personal check, cashier's check, or money order. Except that they do not have to accept a personal check if one has been returned NSF in the last 9 months.


So, under the relevant law in Washington, they can demand a cashier's check or money order for nine months after a check bounces. That being said, if the lease says they can only demand after two bounces, I would say the lease controls. It seems to me that the CC failing to process would count for two reasons: 1) I am assuming it occurred before the lease was signed; and 2) it does not sound like it was a returned payment but an unaccepted payment method.

That all being said, it is impossible to give actual advice without reading the lease and hearing what the landlord's argument or explanation is. I would suggest you get advice from a qualified lawyer in your area.

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