Collecting a Bounced Rent Check – Tenants and NSF

COLLECTING BAD CHECKS

What if my tenant’s rental check bounces – NSF?

 Always make sure that your lease has a clause that addresses  a dishonored or bounced rent check, aka Non Sufficient Funds (NSF). This includes compensation for the bounced rent check and calls for a eviction for non payment of rent.  The purpose of a NSF lease provision is to reimburse you for charges that you will incur for negotiating the bounced check. The compensation should equal the amount your bank will charge you for the bounced check, plus whatever bookkeeping, administration and overhead costs are involved in dealing with the NSF.  Florida law does not take favorably to charging tenants with penalties . Therefore, you should not call this fee a penalty, but rather additional rent, as noted below. This NSF fee is also in addition to any applicable late fee.

 

If the tenant is still occupying the rental unit and it was a bounced rent check, i.e. NSF was for a rental payment, serve a 3-Day Notice for the rental amount still owed (& not a demand letter).  In the 3-Day Notice, the NSF service charges should be labeled as additional rent. Additionally, because the underlying rental obligation continues to exist, the tenant is also subject to the late charge in your lease (assuming the grace period for the rental payment has expired).

Of course, if a NSF check was given as payment in response to a 3-Day Notice (adding insult to injury), then the prior 3 – day Notice is still in effect since the NSF payment is not deemed a valid payment in connection to the Notice.

The following language is an abridged version of an Octazon Lease:

Dishonored checks will be subject to additional rent of 5% of the check amount or a $40.00 charge as additional rent, whichever is greater. All returned checks or dishonored checks shall all be deemed additional rent under the Lease and treated equally the same as rent. Failure to pay or reimburse Landlord all sums owed by Tenant, shall be considered a failure to pay rent and Landlord may include all such amounts of additional rent in any statutory notice to Tenant for payment of rent or to vacate Premises. The imposition of late fees and/or dishonored check charges is not a substitution or waiver of available Florida law remedies.

 

If you would like an Octazon’s custom lease prepared by an attorney, please email Mkatz@octazon.com

 

About Octazon:  Whether you own a few properties or hundreds of properties in Florida, Octazon Management, LLC is here to simplify property ownership and management. We can help you manage any and all of your properties.

When providing management services to Realtors, Octazon will NOT provide the leasing, rentals or sales – so you never have to worry about losing control of your relationship with the owner. 

Providing Simplicity and Peace of Mind™ 

Call us 954-674-2467 or email us at info@octazon.com today.

                          Check us out @ www.octazon.com 

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES- MULTI FAMILY – COMMERCIAL – OFFICE INDUSTRIAL

This BLOG is to provide helpful information and should not be considered legal advice

 

APRIL IS NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH PART III – Tenants with Children

FAIR HOUSING LAWS REGARDING CHILDREN

During the month of April, Fair Housing will be celebrated across the country. ( See our previous blogs on the subject : April is National Fair Housing Month – Know the Laws ; April is National Fair Housing Housing Month Part II – Advertising Caution) .

One of the Fair housing no no’s is: Do not discriminate against a tenant on the basis of familial status, i.e. do not turn down a prospective tenant or take action against an existing tenant, simply because they have children.

Fair Housing violations can even come about with the best intentions – trying to be helpful. For example, telling a mom that you have a better property or unit down the block for their kids. This is called steering. So, when you are talking to a prospective or existing tenant with children – watch what you say and what you do!

So, what can you do if other tenants complain about the children next door who make noise, slam doors, blast music and video games and bang their drums 24-7? Is the handling of that type of kid disturbance an exception to the Fair Housing rules? The answer is NO! Noise is noise and if the noise and disturbance is excessive then deal with it like any other real disturbance. Do not focus on the fact that it is the children making the noise and never focus on the age of the noisemaker. You never want the tenant to misinterpret your actions as really complaining about their children and not the real problem – the noise. Simply address it like any other noise disturbance and if necessary, a Seven Day Notice of Noncompliance with Opportunity to Cure can be served.

Remember, your Tenants have a contractual right to “quiet enjoyment” and if that is being breached, then it is ok to take appropriate action to resolve – regardless of the age of the noisemaker. So long as your rules apply to everyone & not just children, you are good.

Fair Housing Month is a reminder for all: property managers, realtors, asset managers, maintenance teams and any one else dealing with a tenant (whether prospective or actual) – to be very careful and diligent in not violating the Fair Housing Laws – they are very costly to defend and resolve.

About Octazon: Whether you own a few properties or hundreds of properties in Florida, Octazon Management, LLC is here to simplify property ownership and management. We can help you manage any and all of your properties. When providing management services to Realtors, Octazon will NOT provide the leasing, rentals or sales – so you never have to worry about losing control of your relationship with the owner.

Providing Simplicity and Peace of Mind™ Call us 954-674-2467 Email us at info@octazon.com today.

Check us out @ www.octazon.com  SINGLE FAMILY HOMES- MULTI FAMILY – COMMERCIAL – OFFICE INDUSTRIAL

This BLOG is to provide helpful information and should not be considered legal advice