If my tenant has written a restrictive endorsement on this month’s rent check in the memo line, ifI cash it, amI agreeing to the terms written there?

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If my tenant has written a restrictive endorsement on this month’s rent check in the memo line, ifI cash it, amI agreeing to the terms written there?

My tenant is demanding abatement for 144 sqft of property damaged in a hurricane. It was temporarily fixed by our handyman, then fixed by a licensed roofer. That fix did not work and a new contractor was found. This all occurred within 2 months. At no time was the room unusable. But the window did leak during rainstorms. Last month’s rent was reduced as an olive branch for the toys and a table that were ruined after the first 2 fixes did not work.

Asked on October 5, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Good question. The check is not a payment in full, it is a rental payment attempting to reduce the amount of the normal monthly rent by a certain amount due to damages resulting from recent storms that you are attempting to have repaired but without success.

I suggest that you first have a face to face meeting with your tenant about the situation with a third party brought with you to try and resolve the dissatisfaction of the tenant regarding the rental in that your rental situation has the potential to get worse sooner than better before you negotiate the last rent check with the reference in the memorandum section.

Hopefully you and the tenant can reach an understanding at this suggested meeting. Your options with the check is to ask for a new one from the tenant without the reference in the memorandum section, hold onto the one you have and not negotiate or negotiate it but write "under protest by landlord" in the memorandum section and write the tenant before you negotiate the check that he or she is short in the last rental payment if you are unwilling to give a rebate for this month.

Good luck.


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