Can my lease deposit come from someone else's account?
March 30, 2007 11:55 AM   Subscribe

I am applying to rent a house this weekend, and my mother has generously offered to loan me the earnest money (deposit) that's required for the application. (We're still paying rent on current place and don't have a spare $1400 at the moment.) Will the realtor/owner/property management place not accept/think it's weird that the deposit check will come from someone besides the two lease signers?
posted by juniper to Work & Money (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't worry about it. I'd be surprised if they don't see this regularly.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:05 PM on March 30, 2007

Nah. But if it's bug you, have your mom transfer money into your account and then write the check from your own account. Or get a bank check for the amount.
posted by desuetude at 12:09 PM on March 30, 2007

I'm sure they won't mind as long as the check clears...seconding the option to get a cashier's check from your bank/credit union, so you can put your name on it.
posted by Asherah at 12:14 PM on March 30, 2007

It's not a problem 99% of the time. However, there are a very few landlords who won't accept anything but a personal check from the renter, figuring that screens out students, or at least those so unreliable that their own parents don't trust them with cash.

The other way it can figure in is if there are multiple applications for a rental. Most landlords use credit scores and such to decide these days, but some still favor personal checks with a high check number from a local bank.

I was turned down by both kinds of landlords back when the Boston rental market was really nutty, but the vast majority realize that, if you're worthy of being trusted with their rental unit, the source of whatever good check you're paying them with should matter not.
posted by backupjesus at 12:15 PM on March 30, 2007

Response by poster: Yes, backupjesus's 2 situations are what are nagging at me. This place is apparently shown multiple times every day.
posted by juniper at 12:19 PM on March 30, 2007

Why not get a certified check or money order if it bugs you?
posted by konolia at 12:27 PM on March 30, 2007

If your mom writes the check, and they decide at some point to sue you, they may well name her in the suit, too.
posted by jamjam at 12:32 PM on March 30, 2007

Response by poster: Re: check or money order. If we don't get the place, I can just give my mom back her check. Not so easy with the other types of payment.
posted by juniper at 12:34 PM on March 30, 2007

My landlords have never cared where the checks have came from, as long as they received checks.
posted by iguanapolitico at 12:40 PM on March 30, 2007

Why doesn't your mom just cut you a check/deposit the money in your account then you cut another check in your name?
posted by ASM at 12:42 PM on March 30, 2007

Response by poster: ASM: because it's such a popular listing I'd like to get my application in as soon as possible, but yeah, that would solve the problem. Application would go in on Wed instead of Sat, however.
posted by juniper at 12:45 PM on March 30, 2007

I don't know the distances involved, but, if you live close to your mother's bank, you could cash her check at the bank on which it was drawn and then deposit that cash in your bank.

As noted, though...99% chance it's not an issue. Plus, wouldn't you much rather have a sane landlord?
posted by backupjesus at 1:09 PM on March 30, 2007

Response by poster: Yes, yes I would, backupjesus. Thanks.
posted by juniper at 1:14 PM on March 30, 2007

Have it put in a cashier's check. That way mom's name isn't involved, you have the money, and your landlord has certified funds. It's a win-win-win situation.
posted by ilsa at 1:17 PM on March 30, 2007

I'm thinking they won't deposit it unless you all get accepted. So you should have enough time to 1) write the check yourself, then 2) deposit a check from your mom written out to you. If it doesn't go through, just write your mom a check for the same amount. A pain, but certainly seems doable.

As for whether the landlords will think it's strange, I strongly disagree with the majority opinion on this one. Given the competitive nature of the place, they'll probably use anything they can to weed the massive pool of applicants down to something a) manageable and b) as risk-free as possible.

IANALandlord, but if I saw a deposit check from the potential renter's mom, I think I'd worry a bit about the person either not being responsible with money or being in financial straights.
posted by treepour at 1:54 PM on March 30, 2007

I'm disagreeing with treepour, given the considerable amount of money it takes to rent a place and the money you have to put up front (first/last months' rent and security deposit in most cases, so multiple thousands of dollars), I'm sure more than just a few renters borrow money from their family members. This is nothing new under the sun.

Again, cashier's check. If you don't end up getting the place, return it to your bank and they will void it or give you the cash back. I don't see why this is such an issue.
posted by Asherah at 2:14 PM on March 30, 2007

It depends on the rental agent. I usually take it as a sign that the parents will probably be willing to help the tenant pay the rent as well, should it becomes necessary. From my point of view it's a good thing.
posted by BoscosMom at 4:15 PM on March 30, 2007

I did this two apartments ago - my mom gave me a check for the deposit, since I had just come back from overseas and was a little short on cash. (I was in temporary dire financial straits.) The landlord had no problem with it.
posted by Liosliath at 4:52 PM on March 30, 2007

I rented several apartments during college, and my parents always sent checks directly to the landlords. It was the same situation with the majority of my friends.

That said, this was very much a college town. If your landlord wants to weed out students or those who aren't totally financially independent (as stated upthread), not accepting a check from your mom might be a good way to do it.
posted by granted at 10:12 PM on March 30, 2007

I just went through this. Have your mom deposit cash instead of a check. It's automatically available and then you can simply write a check. (Of course, the banks have to be open right now to do this, AND she needs to have ready access to the cash.)
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:19 AM on March 31, 2007

BTW, there's no freaking way they'll cash the check immediately (i.e. today or tomorrow) so even if your mom can't deposit the cash until Monday, you can still write them a check for the full amount.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:21 AM on March 31, 2007

Just want to clarify something -- the primary reason I suggested that the the mother's check might make a (negative) difference is that the apartment was described as highly competitive. I moved the Bay Area during the dotcom nonsense and heard numerous horror stories about potential renters bribing potential landlords with wine, gift baskets, cash, promises to pay above-advertised rate, you name it. So when I think "competitive apartment hunting" that's what pops into my mind. If the apartment is THAT competitive, though, I do stand by position.
posted by treepour at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2007

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