Do I have to accept cash as an option for rent?

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Do I have to accept cash as an option for rent?

I have my tenants on month-to-month leases. I have in the past picked-up rent payments. I will be moving out of state and managing the properties remotely and have set up my tenants to use either a third-party online payment method or bank transfers. However, one tenant is resistant and claims that it is illegal to not accept her cash or check payments. She refuses to use online or her bank. We are updating our leases to the new payment methods only and have informed her that she doesn’t need to renew her lease if she chooses not to. She threatened to take legal action, however I feel we’ve offered her multiple ways to pay, but can not physically be available to pick-up

payments. We also can not justify the need for a PO Box for just one tenant and do not want to give out our personal address for payments.

Asked on April 1, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If their lease doesn't specify how the rent must be paid, then you are obligated to accept cash since it constitutes "legal tender." That having been said, if the lease requires payment in a certain form (i.e. cash or money order only), then your tenant must pay as specified and has agreed in the contract.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the lease requires payment in certain specified ways, then the tenant must pay as specified: the lease is a contract, so if a tenant signs a lease, he or she contractually obligates him/herself to all the lease's terms, including payment terms.
If there lease does not specify how rent must be paid, however, then you have to accept cash, since it generally speaking "legal tender."
If the tenant will not accept a new lease (i.e. because she refuses to accept or agree to certain terms), you can terminate her tenancy for doing so, but are advised to retain a landlord-tenant attorney to help you: landlord-tenant law can be very "technical" in that a minor error in paperwork or procedures can result in your eviction case being dismissed and having to start over.
 
 


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