If my apartment complex office was broken into and some of the rent money orders were stolen, amI responsible for re-paying my rent?

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If my apartment complex office was broken into and some of the rent money orders were stolen, amI responsible for re-paying my rent?

Of course mine happen to be one of the stolen ones. It was a money order it takes 30 days for them to refund me the money from that money order. Just today I received an eviction letter. Can they evict me for that?

Asked on January 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Legally, once you put the rent into the hands of the landlord or property manager, you have discharged your rent responsibility--the fact that the money is stolen later is not your fault or your responsibility. Not only should you not be evicted if your already paid, while you should help if possible (e.g. stop payment and then reissue another money order), if the money order has already been cashed, you should not have to reissue a new one; this is no different from if the rent money is stolen from the landlord's bank account after it was deposited. Again, your legal responsibility is to pay the rent, not for what happens later.

However, that's the law. If the landlord takes the position that you never even turned in the rent (either honestly believing that, or improperly, to get you to pay again), they will likely try to evict  you. If they take you to court for eviction, your two options are to either (1) repay the rent, to avoid eviction, while trying to get the money back from the money order; or (2) try to prove, by whatever evidence you have and your testimony, in court that you did pay the rent and the landlord lost/had it stolen afterwords.


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