Check writing/cashing etiquette
January 24, 2014 11:34 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are disagreeing about check writing and cashing etiquette.

We mailed our rent check the other day and it showed up as cashed today. Husband thinks it is rude our landlord cashed it before the 1st. I don't think it is rude at all. (The check was dated for the 20th or so, whatever day we mailed it.)

Husband is also wondering if it's rude for him to date the check for the 1st in the future. My personal preference is just get the money taken out of the bank account asap.

This is the second month we've had this discussion (we used to have checks sent automatically by our bank, but they would sometimes not arrive, so we've resorted to writing checks). Does he have a point?
posted by disaster77 to Work & Money (58 answers total)
I think it's rude to hold on to checks for too long (yes, I'm occasionally guilty, but it's a pain to track pending withdrawals), and it's rude to post-date checks (because it makes me have to keep checks around and track when I can deposit them).
posted by straw at 11:37 AM on January 24, 2014 [12 favorites]

Honestly, as far as landlord behavior goes, cashing the check as soon as they get it seems pretty tame. At least it's not the opposite problem. I would not consider it rude.

I use billpay to send my rent check (BoA at least allows you to use billpay to send payments to anyone whose name/address you know, not just big companies, and I think others do this now as well) and the money comes out of my account on whatever day I tell the bank to deliver the payment, I think regardless of whether or not the check was cashed. If it's a big deal this might be an alternative for you.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:38 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

You're right, hubby's wrong. Unless there's a reason why the check can't be cashed before the first (like, insufficient funds until then), the landlord should be free to cash it as soon as he gets it.

Post-dating a check for the first would not be cool, unless you first discussed it with the landlord, or unless you're willing to deliver it to him on the first, instead of mailing it ahead of time.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:38 AM on January 24, 2014 [12 favorites]

It would never occur to me to not cash a check that was sent to me before some random date in the future unless that was specifically communicated with me. It would never occur to me to check the date on a check to see if it was post-dated (but it is my understanding that that is not actually enforceable in any way). If you send a check, and you don't have an agreement with your landlord that you actually, you know, talked about where he wouldn't cash it until later, you should expect it to be cashed.
posted by brainmouse at 11:38 AM on January 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

I'm a landlord, and if I get a check early, I cash it early unless my tenant has communicated with me about their wishes otherwise. I wouldn't think to look at the date if I'd heard nothing from the tenant. I'm not psychic, and I'm guessing neither is your landlord.

Not rude to cash it early. Somewhat passive-aggressive to post-date checks mailed early with no other communication, and strange to mail checks early but ask for cashing to be held off.
posted by cmoj at 11:38 AM on January 24, 2014 [12 favorites]

Not rude to cash right away.

Not rude to post-date to the 1st of the month (when your rent is presumably due).
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:39 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

The norm is for rent cheques to be dated for the 1st of every month, so no, that's not rude. It's also not rude for him to cash it slightly early, since you dated it slightly early. I'd say it'd be a bit rude if he cashed it before the first if you dated it for the first, but it's something you should expect as a possibility (since it's legal).

If it was for something other than rent, I'd say it's a bit weird/rude to post-date them, unless you know they don't mind.
posted by randomnity at 11:39 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Husband is also wondering if it's rude for him to date the check for the 1st in the future.

With regard to this one little point ... In the state where I previously lived, a person who accepted a post-dated check was deprived of the protection of the "passing bad checks" criminal statute. The reason for this is that, if you accept a post-dated check, the person who is writing it is not claiming that there is money to cover it right now, and thus if there's never money to cover it, there's no fraud because they never claimed it was good. It is more of a broken promise.

So, I have always thought it is bad form to write a post dates check absent an explicit agreement that its okay.

I would recommend asking your landlord whether it's okay.
posted by jayder at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's illegal to postdate a check.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

The landlord is free to cash the cheque any time after it's dated.

We have a good relationship with our landlord and give him a year's worth of postdated cheques each January so he'll cash one each month within the first few days.

I consider neither of these things to be rude.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:44 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Most businesses (especially small businesses that still receive paper checks) simply deposit them upon receipt. I used to handle the banking for a small steel service center, and when checks came in, I just wrote up the deposit slip, stamped them with our endorsement, and took them to the bank. I never noticed the date on them. And, by the way, according to the Uniform Commercial Code, a bank will accept a post-dated check unless notified in writing by the customer not to do so.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:45 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

It is NOT illegal to postdate a check. It IS illegal to give someone a check for which there are insufficient funds if they go and cash it immediately. Post-dating is in no way enforceable, and the person you give it to and the bank they give it to are perfectly allowed to cash it whenever the heck they want (within reason), and you are still responsible for having the money in the bank to cover it whenever they do so, whether it is a few days before or many months after the date on the check.
posted by brainmouse at 11:45 AM on January 24, 2014 [19 favorites]

I'm a landlord and never look at the date on the rent checks. I get them, and I deposit them immediately (literally immediately, via mobile phone app) so I don't have to handle them again. If you don't want them cashed early, don't send them early.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:46 AM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't think "rudeness" is the right way to think about this. Would you prefer your landlord not cash your check until the 1st? Politely ask (she may say no.) Would you prefer to post-date the check so you know when the amount is coming out of your account? Politely ask (she may say no.) etc.

Just from these handful of responses, we can see there are different norms. Even if 99% of us agreed, your landlord might still be in the 1%. So just ask her. I don't think etiquette should be a substitute for communication.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 11:46 AM on January 24, 2014

The Myths and Reality of Post-dated checks:
One of the myths that somehow refuses to go away is the myth that post-dated checks are 'illegal.' They are not. [...] There is a down side to accepting post dated checks...If a creditor accepts a post-dated check in exchange for merchandise or services, in many jurisdictions the seller is considered to have extended credit to the issuer of that check.
Is it illegal to post-date a check?:
A person writing a postdated check may violate the law if the check is returned by the bank to the recipient because the maker’s account does not have the funds on deposit necessary to cover the check. Although worthless check laws can vary somewhat from one state to another, all states make it illegal for a person to write a worthless check with the intent to defraud a person or business of goods or services. The maker of the postdated check must have the intent to defraud at the time of writing the postdated check. Therefore, a defendant who writes a postdated check that is returned because of insufficient funds will not be convicted of writing a worthless check unless the prosecutor is able to prove that the defendant wrote the postdated check with the purpose of defrauding the recipient or with the knowledge that the check would not be honored at the later date used on the check.
posted by scody at 11:47 AM on January 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

I pay my landlord rent+bills about a week before the 1st of each month, typically, but I transfer funds via BOA direct transfer (my landlord and I both have BOA accounts), so date is never an issue.

I think your landlord presumes that when he gets the check from you, with the day's date written on it, that you're ready with the right amount of funds, and that you want the funds immediately taken.

If you/your husband wants the funds held until the 1st, write that on the check, or tell your landlord verbally. If I were a landlord, I'd deposit the check right away if the date is showing as today (or a past)'s date.
posted by dubious_dude at 11:48 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Even when you have an agreement wth someone re post-dating a check, they can still forget and cash it.

I don't see it as being about rudeness - though you are asking them to do something extra - remember and honor the post-date. But I definitely see it as something that puts the check-writer at risk. The bank doesn't care about the post-date and will still charge you if the check overdrafts.
posted by bunderful at 11:51 AM on January 24, 2014

I used to give my landlord a 6 month stack of postdated checks and they just cashed them near the beginning of every month. But I live in Canada.
posted by captaincrouton at 11:52 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

As this is a business arrangement, it's unhelpful to think of your landlord's actions as "rude" compared to "polite." Instead, ask yourself (and your husband) what your expectations are for a business-to-business transaction. Your utility cashes the check immediately upon receipt and you can't (for the many good reasons stated above) post-date a check to them, so why would you expect your landlord to behave any differently?

Thinking of it as a business relationship will be helpful for many reasons.
posted by janey47 at 11:54 AM on January 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

There is a whole area of law covering "negotiable instruments" like checks. A check is a legal instruction to your bank to make funds available to the payee.

There's no "rudeness"--it's what the law allows or doesn't allow. It's like asking whether it's polite for your landlord to raise your rent. It's legal, or it's not legal.

I am not your lawyer at all, nor am I a negotiable instruments lawyer; this is not legal advice.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:55 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is your rent paid monthly? If so, then I think it's odd that you send the cheque with the actual date it's mailed and not the first of the month.

But if the date has already passed, then I don't think it's rude of the landlord to cash the cheque.
posted by barnoley at 11:57 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's no rudeness or etiquette involved here. The date on the check is meaningless. It's unenforceable and most people (and probably all businesses) don't even look at it. If there's not enough money in the account, then don't send the check till there is. If that's not possible, sending a note (on an attached post-it ideally, so it will be noticed) saying "please don't deposit until X date" is the polite way of handling this, but there's no guarantee the receiver will honor this.
posted by Mchelly at 11:57 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Your husband is way off base on both counts. The rent being due on a particular date is not equivalent to some sort of contract stating that the rent will be given on that date specifically. And even if it were, the idea of giving it to the landlord early but postdated smacks of "I'll transfer my responsibility of waiting until the specified time to the landlord. And if he cashes it early, I'll blame him."

To think it "rude" of the landlord to cash a check that you gave them is just weird.
posted by Flunkie at 11:59 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm always of the mind that your rent is due before the first day of the month in which you are renting. You're, in effect, paying for the right to reside in the apartment from the 1st until the last day of the month. If you're paying your rent on the first, is your landlord not then extending you a couple of days' residence in the apartment while the check clears?
posted by xingcat at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2014

I think of writing a check as the same as cash. The moment the check leaves your hand the money is gone. Why should the landlord wait if they have a check in their hand? There is absolutely no rudeness in cashing a received check.

I would just mail the check a day later or something.
posted by magnetsphere at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

2nding Mchelly. The date is meaningless. As soon as the check is in hand, payment can be demanded from the account-holding institution.
posted by klarck at 12:01 PM on January 24, 2014

It would be perfectly reasonable to give a post dated check if, say, the necessary funds won't be in your account because you don't get paid until the last day of the month but it is more convenient to deliver the check before that day.
posted by canoehead at 12:02 PM on January 24, 2014

Not rude to cash a cheque the moment you have it, assuming it's not postdated. Not rude to postdate a cheque for the time you want it cashed, either.

I pay my rent using postdated cheques for each calendar year, it's what my landlord prefers. I'm Canadian though.
posted by Sternmeyer at 12:06 PM on January 24, 2014

You're supposed to pay BY the 1st, right? Your contract does not state that the rent will only be paid ON the 1st? I've pretty much always paid a week or so early in case of mail problems, and my checks have almost always been cashed a few days before the technical due date (I've assumed that the landlord brings a stack to the bank every week.) Now that I have a mortgage, the check is cashed pretty much immediately.

Post-dating a check always strikes me as kind of silly (except in the cases listed above where they are paying many months at once.) If the end of the month is that close to the bone for you, just put a check, dated the 1st, on your door and drop it off in person.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:12 PM on January 24, 2014

I don't think it's rude at all to cash a check as soon as you get it. I think it's somewhat rude when I give people checks and they hold on to them for a long time before cashing them.

I work in property management for a large apartment complex. We regularly take post dated checks and as long as the person giving them to us lets us know not to cash it until the date on the check, we put it aside until then. If someone doesn't mention that it is post-dated, it will most likely go along with all the others so while I don't think it would be rude to just post date the check for the 1st before sending your rent, it might find it's way to the bank early (and they have been known to cash it) if you don't give your landlord a head's up.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 12:12 PM on January 24, 2014

I in fact dislike it when landlords don't cash rent checks immediately, because then I get worried that the check didn't make it through the mail and I'll then be dinged for late fees.
posted by andrewesque at 12:20 PM on January 24, 2014 [8 favorites]

I have gotten into similar discussions with my husband over rent. He wants to mail it a day or two before it's due and that doesn't often fall within the pay periods or the budget. I think it's a thing of someone getting your money early and somehow benefiting from it. As if it's unfair or they are going to earn interest. Not sure where the attitude comes from.

Now I send him a note at the beginning of each month, detailing our budget and on what day we will pay the car payment and the rent. And told him in no uncertain terms that I will feel tons better if it gets mailed a week early and is out of our account (we pay by a bank check so it comes out immediately which is great). Case closed.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 12:27 PM on January 24, 2014

Huh, this never occurred to me as a thing.

Does your landlord have multiple apartments?

In my old place, my landlord lived in the building and I hand-delivered the check on the first. If he was out on the 1st, it went through the mail slot. If I was away on the 1st, I delivered a post-dated check dated for the 1st before leaving.

Now I have to pay by mail, so I put the check in the mail in time to make it there a few days before the 1st, but I post-date the check to the 1st. My landlord manages a bunch of other apartments, so I've always assumed he cashes all the checks at once (and indeed, usually the money gets taken out of my account around the 5th although my checks must be getting there by the 26-28th at the latest).

I've never written a check my account couldn't cover. I just find it easier to keep track of rent checks if they're all dated the first of the month they're for.
posted by pie ninja at 12:34 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Husband thinks it is rude our landlord cashed it before the 1st.

Maybe it'd be helpful to explore more deeply why your husband feels this way? One possible unpacking: The landlord doesn't have any right to the money before the 1st, and the only reason they have the check any earlier than that is because you mail it early to hedge against delays in the mail system. Cashing the cheque immediately on receipt, to this way of thinking, is taking advantage of the situation, or taking advantage of the cheque writer. (On preview of Marie Mon Dieu's answer: it might not really matter whether the advantage is substantial, say, if what's really at stake is the possibility of being thought a sucker; such things are matters of social status as perceived or felt, not matters of practical advantage.)
posted by stebulus at 12:36 PM on January 24, 2014

Just as a data point: I always send in my rent check 3-5 days before the first, postdated for the first. Sometimes I send my check two weeks early, if I know I will be traveling around the first and likely to forget. In those instances, I usually include a note about my travel plans, but that's also just for her information, in case she needs to know.

My landlord has never mentioned a problem with my postdating checks and seems to regard me as a model tenant.
posted by donajo at 12:39 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

On preview, what pie ninja said.
posted by donajo at 12:41 PM on January 24, 2014

As if it's unfair or they are going to earn interest.

If this is any part of the OP's husband's thinking, he needs to take a look at interest rates these days. No one is making a noticable amount of money on a week's worth of rent money.

To my mind, if for whatever reason one wants the check cashed on the day the rent is due, it's one's responsbility to deliver the check on that day. No landlord or other owed person is under any obligation to sit on a delivered check until the payment due date. If one has a chip on one's shoulder about someone else getting to hold money an extra few days, it sounds like an emotional rather than a financial problem. If it is a financial issue (I certainly had a time in my life when I had to carefully time my check writing) then the logistics of remembering to write the check on the correct day goes with being in those circumstances, sorry to say.
posted by aught at 12:42 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

It used to be the case, at least in Canada, that until around the late 90s the bank itself would actually postpone processing post dated cheques until the indicated day arrived. People would give their landlords X months of post-dated rent cheques at a time, up to the limits that the landlord's bank allowed, the landlord would submit them all to their bank for deposit, and the bank would hold them as "pending deposits" or something, and would handle it all themselves. Some people even did this with mortgage payments.

Eventually the banks started shortening the holding period, to four months, then two, then one month max, started charging fees, then ultimately decided to disregard the date entirely and process everything immediately.

So I guess what I'm saying is, some of us older people still think of the date on the cheque as a "don't use until this day" date. Putting today's date on your rent cheque tells the landlord it's okay to deposit it right away, postdating it to the first tells them that you're hoping they wait.
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:44 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I pay my rent using postdated cheques for each calendar year, it's what my landlord prefers. I'm Canadian though.

Things are very different in the U.S. and Canada. In Canada, a bank is not allowed to pay a cheque until the date on the cheque. In the U.S. it is not so.
posted by grouse at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I always assume the person I give a check to will deposit it ASAP, regardless of date, unless I say "Can you not deposit this till Wednesday?" or the like. Which I feel sort of shitty doing.

A friend recently held onto a very large check for about a month, long after I assumed it must have cleared out of my account, and I was pissed off when he called me up and said, "Ummmmmm I still haven't deposited that check. Is it OK if I deposit it now?" Grrrrrrrrr.
posted by Sara C. at 12:50 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have rented apartments for 12 years and always paid the following month's rent as soon as possible (usually mid-month) so that I could forget about it. It never occurred to me to expect a landlord to wait to cash it, and if they did, I think it would have annoyed me because I want to know it's done and the check didn't get lost or something.

In my experience the "why the heck would you pay before the first?" people are the people who are used to living paycheck to paycheck their whole lives, so I would wonder if your husband grew up in a different kind of financial environment than you did.
posted by celtalitha at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2014

Thanks for all the answer so far.

I talked to him a bit more to find out why he thinks it's rude. He thinks "a lot of people get paid at the end of the month, so risking fees, etc. from a bounced check is rude, inconsiderate." Luckily, we're at a point in our lives where we're not living paycheck to paycheck, so we have plenty of money in the bank to cover rent and this doesn't apply to us.

And to note, we rent a house and our landlord is the owner. He has no other properties and he lives in the same city, though on the other side of town. We see him in person maybe once a year and we've lived here for 5 years now.
posted by disaster77 at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2014

Does your lease have a grace period, as in "rent must be paid by the 5th (or 10th or 15th) of the month"? Why not just mail the check on the 1st and then everyone is happy?
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:04 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've mostly rented from small-time local landlords (not, say, property management companies) and always handled checks in person. On all of our leases, the checks were stipulated as due on the first of the month, so I would drop them off--in person--either on the first or a day or two before, in the event of a weekend. They've always cashed the checks on the first or just after.

Honestly, what's odd to me about this is that you're mailing the check so early. You can, and were I a landlord I would go ahead and cash the check right away, not thinking it rude at all. But it's not necessary. But then, I've always done the legwork to hand off the check in person (or slip it under a front door or into a designated rent check mailbox) to make sure there were no mailing problems.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:05 PM on January 24, 2014

He thinks "a lot of people get paid at the end of the month, so risking fees, etc. from a bounced check is rude, inconsiderate."

Then... don't write and send the check so early? I don't write ANY checks that cannot be cashed either immediately upon receipt, and I assume that any check I write is going to be cashed immediately. I get paid on the last business day of the month.

I date the check to the day I'm writing, regardless of the due date. So I have no insight on post-dating.
posted by sm1tten at 1:32 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not rude to cash it as soon as it arrives. Illegal to post-date it.

Once I had a landlord kind of screw me over this way. I mailed the rent check. Then I started moving money between accounts. He cashed it. The check bounced because I was waiting on a deposit from one of my accounts to the other. (This was in 2003, before online banking was possible, and also a small-time, elderly landlord, who lived a few towns away so I had to mail the check, rather than hand it to him as I had done with previous landlords up to that point.) I got hit with a bounced check fee and so did the landlord. He demanded I cover his bounced check fee, so I had to write another check, which got there before the first. He cashed it and all was fine since my deposit had gone through by that point.

After speaking with my landlord, I got the feeling that I could have avoided that whole fiasco had I merely included a note in the envelope with the check asking the landlord to please not cash the check until the first of the month.

Between the two bounced check fees this was a relatively cheap mistake - it cost me all of $28 bucks.

I talked to my bank about the situation at the time, and from then on I've had some form of overdraft protection on all my checking accounts (I did not know this was an option). Since then, I also always assume that any and all checks I write (as well as any online bill payments or requests for bank drafts, debit card payments, et cetera) will be cashed/paid *immediately*.
posted by tckma at 1:46 PM on January 24, 2014

When you give someone a check, the usual expectation is that they can deposit it immediately. When you pay for something with a check you are paying for it right then, not whenever it gets deposited. Turn the situation around: if you gave the landlord the check on the day the rent was due and he didn't get around to depositing it until the next week, would he then be right to charge you a late rent fee? Of course not, because by accepting the check on the due date he was also accepting payment on the due date, regardless of when it was cashed.

If someone doesn't have the money to back up a check, they're liable if it bounces. There's no waiting period without a prior agreement, and any agreement is not legally binding. If you don't want a check deposited until the 1st, don't issue it until the 1st. Once the check is issued, the funds it represents no longer belong to the issuer -- they are just being held in guarantee until the check is processed. So your husband should no longer consider the money in the rent check "his", once the check has gone out. Those funds belong to the landlord, and if anything he is doing you a courtesy by depositing it immediately, so that you no longer have to go to the hassle of managing them for him.
posted by Scientist at 1:46 PM on January 24, 2014

If there was an unspoken understanding that a check wouldn't be cashed right away, it seems to me there wouldn't be so many scenes in movies and TV where you see someone asking a check recipient not to cash a check right away.

I can totally understand your husband WANTING the landlord to not cash the check until the first, and if I was the landlord and your husband ASKED me not to cash the check until the first, I wouldn't consider it an unreasonable request. But I've never traveled in the sort of circles where this would be something "everybody just knows, and you shouldn't have to ask for, and it's rude if you don't automatically do it."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:03 PM on January 24, 2014

Illegal to post-date it.

Is this really a thing? This is so weird. What do you do if you want to pay rent on the first of the month and not before, and make sure your cheque isn't late because it's delayed in the mail? FWIW, I've always supplied post-dated cheques for rent, and it's never been a problem with the landlord. Either they or the banks hold onto the cheques and deposit them on the right day. But I'm in Canada, and it sounds like the U.S. is (weirdly, incomprehensibly) different.
posted by Dasein at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2014

As has been stated earlier in the thread, it's not illegal to post-date a check in the U.S. That is a myth.

As has also been stated earlier in the thread, U.S. banks can and do ignore the date on a check. That's not really incomprehensible any more than them ignoring the memo field or the cartoon animals or sports logos people print on their checks. It's simply a fact, banks usually pay zero attention to what you put there, and you have zero recourse when they ignore it.

What do you do if you want to pay rent on the first of the month and not before, and make sure your cheque isn't late because it's delayed in the mail?

Everywhere I rented in the U.S. I usually deposited my check in a physical drop box for checks rather than mailing it.
posted by grouse at 2:15 PM on January 24, 2014

I would not send the check with the expectation other than it will be cashed when received. I would suggest that you get the landlord's bank and bank account number and ACH him a payment directly for delivery on the first of the month unless the first is a weekend, then I would send it for the Friday before.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2014

If a check is sent to me, I assume that means the sender has the funds to cover it, and I cash it. I don't think I've ever even looked at the date on a check. If someone explicitly said "Hey, I'm sending this to you now but please don't cash until the first," I'd comply, but I'd think they were very weird (probably not rude, but weird and inconveniencing me for their own convenience.)

I'd certainly never send a check unless I expected it to be cashed the instant it was received.
posted by Stacey at 3:54 PM on January 24, 2014

He thinks "a lot of people get paid at the end of the month, so risking fees, etc. from a bounced check is rude, inconsiderate."

A lot of people get paid every two weeks on a friday; or on a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Wednesday; or get payments on some other schedule.

If someone gives me a check and I want to avoid cashing it until after they get paid, I'm going to have to ask them some personal questions about their finances -- which would be rude.
posted by yohko at 4:28 PM on January 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm kind of in the middle. I had always thought a landlord should wait until the rent due date to cash the check just on principle.

However, if I'm waiting until the 1st of the month because that's when I get paid, I'll until the 31st to send the check so there's no way the funds won't be available if they do cash it right away.
posted by cali59 at 4:48 PM on January 24, 2014

it is not rude to cash a check the moment you get your mitts on it, neither is it rude to date the check on the day the obligation occurs.
posted by bruce at 6:33 PM on January 24, 2014

Not only is it common business practice, it could be safer for you if the landlord deposits the check when it's received and doesn't leave it sitting around in their desk. One time my landlord's place got broken into and my check was stolen (along with some others). The less it sits around, the less chance to expose your checking account info.
posted by hsieu at 9:16 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

And the less chance for you to get confused when you look at your reported balance, but forget that you already gave some of that money to someone else. The longer someone holds onto a check, the more chance you have to double-spend that money.

I think it's rude to not immediately (or at least promptly) deposit checks. It's sloppy business not to.

The date field is only for your own records. Nobody else cares what you write in there.
posted by ctmf at 11:41 PM on January 24, 2014

I am a bookkeeper. I once inadvertently post-dated a batch of checks a client was using to pay vendors. The date on the checks was a couple of weeks later than the day I printed them. I did not discover the error until I had mailed the checks. I checked with the bank and they informed me if a post-dated check with a valid signature was presented against the clients account, they would negotiate the check on the date it was presented; post-dating a check would not prevent the bank from cashing it.

I followed up with the vendors involved, explaining what had happened and asking them to contact me if they had problems negotiating the checks. No vendors contacted me, and all the checks were cashed, most of them before the date on the check.
posted by layceepee at 11:21 AM on January 25, 2014

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