Will an apartment complex legally come after me if I put a stop payment on a check I wrote for an application fee?

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Will an apartment complex legally come after me if I put a stop payment on a check I wrote for an application fee?

I applied for an apartment that I thought I was sure I wanted to move into. Upon driving back to work, I realized it was just too far of a commute. I called first thing the next morning to see if I could catch them before she started the process, but she already had. In order to afford the apartment I actually want, I put a stop payment on the check, but now I am worried that was a bad decision. What do I need to do?

Asked on June 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it was really not a good idea. Every state has bad check laws and they can be really harsh.  There are both civil and criminal penalties associated with the laws. In North Carolina, thirty days after written demand, there can be awarded the lesser of $500 or treble amount owing on check, but not less than $100.  As for criminal penalties, $50 - $500 or up to six months in jail. If check is less than $50 - $50 fine or up to 30 days in jail. Over three convictions, up to one year. If check drawn on non-existent account, fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 2 years or both. If check drawn on account closed by drawer prior to time check drawn, fine not to exceed $400 or imprisonment for not more than 5 months or both.  I would call and speak with them and see if there is a right of cancellation period, etc.  Negotiate something. Good luck.


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