Wo is responsible for the rent if the rent was placed in the drop box of the rental property but stolen

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Wo is responsible for the rent if the rent was placed in the drop box of the rental property but stolen

My rent was put into the drop box of the rental business office. The office sent a letter in regards to the rent not being paid. When we performed a tracer request, 2 of the money orders were cashed and 1 was not. The money order photo copy was sent to our residence showing someone else’s name on the money orders but no bank information on the back of it, just deposit only. The money order’s were filled out and the were altered. Since it was put in there drop box, is it considered to be in their possession or are we still responsible for it? Also, there was a camera.

Asked on October 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if you put the rent into the landlord's possession (i.e into the proper drop box) and it was stolen afterwards, you have fulfilled you obligation vis-a-vis the rent. The issue here may be factual: you can prove that the money orders were cashed by someone else, but you also have to be able to prove that the money orders went into the box, if the landlord should dispute that it received them: after all, the fact that the money orders were cashed by another does not, by itself, prove anything about receipt. Therefore, if the landlord denies it received them in the first place and tries to evict you, the issue will likely hinge on any evidence (for example, footage or film from that camera you mention) you and the landlord each have about delivery and receipt, as well as the credibility of any testimony on the subject.


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