I recently moved into a rental home and wrote a check for the first months rent. I wrote it a week early and postdated it to the 1st of the months which is when the lease started. They cashed the check the next day (almost a week early) and caused me to overdraft and bounce other payments. Because of that, I wasn't able to get the utilities switched to my name yet because of the deposits. I have orders in for them to switch, but they won't be able to do it until Monday. The landlord is having them shut off in his name on Friday. In the lease there is no specified date for me to have them switched, only states that I am responsible for paying the utilities. Can he do that?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Never do that with a check. As you now know, it can be cashed early. As to whether landlord can do what s/he did, the simple answer is, yes. Always read through a lease and think carefully about its meaning. ASK QUESTIONS. I have found, over the years, few clients who actually questioned the landlord about meanings of some things in a lease. And, fewer still get a reliable witness who can later attest to what was asked and what was said. If a landlord made a misrepresentation that was crucial in your decision to sign the lease, then s/he can be liable. But, the burden of proof is on you.