Is it illegal for an apartment complex to stipulate the form in which rental payments are to be made?

UPDATED: Aug 26, 2011

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Is it illegal for an apartment complex to stipulate the form in which rental payments are to be made?

The apartment complex I live in has just passed a rule that they will only accept payment in the form of a single check or money order. They will not accept cash, or more than 1 check or money order as payment for rent. Is that legal? My local money order store only gives a maximum $500, so it is impossible to use just 1 in that case.

Asked on August 26, 2011 Indiana


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the requirement has occurred after you have signed your written lease agreement, you are not bound by the unilateral change in the rules by your apartment complex. I do see some reasons why the apartment complex may not want cash payment due to having too much cash on the premises and no secure place to put it before it is deposited. There is also an issue regarding lost receipts and the like.

Most businesses prefer cash over checks in that there is always the possibility that a check may not clear.

I also understand the inconvenience to you and the additional costs for a money order of a cashiers check. Sentiment is that the unilateral change regarding how rental payments are requested to be made from now on is a request that really cannot be legally enforced by the apartment complex.

Good question.

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