Auto bill paying question -- return address?

harriethomeownerOctober 10, 2007

We have a tenant in our rental property who has always paid the rent on time. This month, we hadn't received payment by the 8th, so I called her and she told me she had set up auto payment with her bank. She said she'd checked her account and it showed the amount as processed on the 1st. So we got a check yesterday from the bank (date of check 10/1, no postmark on envelope), and we noticed that the return address under the tenant's name was not the address of our property. Is this a standard thing -- that is, do these banks generally use their own address instead of that of the person who's paying the bill?

I have to say, I'm not impressed! She did better putting a check in the mail; it always got here right on time. But I guess this is less trouble for her and probably doesn't cost her anything.

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I would not be impressed either. I think I'd call the bank, talk to the manager and ask if that's going to be the case each time. If the bank can't process the auto pay any faster than that you'd have to decide whether to put up with the late payment or ask the tenant to go back to mailing a check.

But perhaps it's because it was the first one and they will be faster in the future?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 7:49PM
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She told me they had said it would be here by the 1st. Guess they lied.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 8:17PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Might you like the money deposited into your account? a paycheck, soc security, etc? I wonder if your bank could handle that any better?


    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 10:57PM
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It's not my bank that's the problem -- it's my tenant's. The check came to me in the U.S. mail but was an electronically cut check created by her bank (big national bank). I do not want to give her my personal bank account information to have it deposited electronically, obviously.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 12:17AM
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I do not want to give her my personal bank account information to have it deposited electronically, obviously.

She already has that information when you deposit her check.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 1:06AM
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What is the date on the check?

Remember, 10/8 was a mail and banking holiday. Your tenant may have entered the payment information on the 1st, rather than setting the 1st as the DUE date of the payment. Typically when having to cut a physical check to a payee that doesn't take electronic funds transfer, online billpay requires 4 to 5 days lead-time. Which means if she entered the payment in her account access on the 1st, the earliest allowable due date to the payee would between 10/5 and 10/9. On that time frame, your receipt of the check on 10/9 is reasonable.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 1:06AM
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Much better & safer to have the check electronically transfered to your account. cmarlin20 is correct. Your tenant already has your account info on her cancelled check.

And yes, it's normal for the bank to use an operations center address & not the customer's home address (imagine what a PITA that would be with 100,000s of customers).

/tricia (banker)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 7:37AM
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I'd ask the tenant what person at the bank had told her that the money would be given to you on the first of the month.

Then I'd ask that person, or, failing that, someone (as near to the manager as possible) at her bank whether her claim that they had told her that the money would be given to you on the first was accurate.

If so - how come it didn't?

Would this be a one-time problem, or would it be the same next month as this month?

If so ... then the tenant needs to be informed that, since it took a week for you to receive the money, that she needs to initiate the payment a week before the end of the month, as s/he has an obligation to pay you as of day one of each month.

So it seems to me.

Good luck with getting it straightened out with minimal bureaucratese.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 8:13PM
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I wouldn't ask the person at the bank anything; my tenant could talk to her own bank her own self.

I think I'd let her know how late it came, and tell her to check to be sure she's interpreting the "due date" correctly. (my bank, Chase, lets me choose "deliver by" and they automatically choose "send on," so it would be hard for ME to mess up)

And if she is, ask her if she'd be so kind as to have her bank do whatever to get it to you by the day BEFORE the 1st.

If this is the first time for her using this payment method for you, she needs (and deserves) friendly feedback from you.

It's also possible that she sent the first one in a separate transaction, then set up the repeating payment, and isn't remembering this.

(I have my rent check mailed to arrive a few days early--the 26th instead of the 1st; it's mailed on the 19th, supposedly. Apparently it arrives early enough that the bldg president, when filling in for the treasurer, though it was arriving LATE for the month before)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 6:00PM
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I have a couple of tenants who do direct deposit to my checking account and the payments are always on or before the 1st of each month, no problem. All my tenants should be so prompt! As mentioned above, your account number isn't private by any stretch of the imagination.......

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 7:04PM
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If the bank deducts it from her account and sends it to you, I think that would be a more positive way for you to get your money even if it is late. The check wouldn't bounce and you would know for sure of the day it will arrive.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 1:29AM
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I called her and let her know the date it arrived. I'll wait and see what happens next month.

Luckily, we are not living so close to the edge that we need to have the money on or before the 1st of the month! Actually, I never count on it all (even though in the 8 years I've been a landlord, I've never had a problem) -- my financial motto is hope for the best but plan for the worst.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 3:35PM
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Couldn't you just tell her that the payment was late and by how many days, and ask her to change the order with the bank to execute earlier, so you'll get the check on time.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 2:56AM
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I pay all my bills via online banking (big national bank) and they're never late. I set them up to arrive by the date due - most require two day lead time - some obscure payees may require up to five days. In my opinion there's no reason payment should arrive late and it's up to the person paying you to figure out how to use online bill payment in a way that gets the check to you on time. If she always paid on time before I'm sure she'd want to continue to do so.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 12:12PM
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Pretty sure these checks have an 800 number on them to call and setup direct deposit into your account. You'd not be telling your tenant the info, but the processing agency. And you get the money quicker.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:00PM
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There are all kinds of reasons for the payment being late, I guess I just fail to understand why it's your problem. Your tenant has the responsibility to get the rent payment to you by the due date, no matter how she gets it there. Period.

Your tenant does not get to chose the method of payment either. If you do not wish to have it direct deposited into your account, then you don't have to.

Now if she has been a long time, paying on time tenant, then I could understand that you may want to inform her that the payment was late by x number of days and while you understand that she is trying something new and are willing to forgive the late fee for this month, she needs to ensure that the rent is paid by the 5th (for example) in future months or she will be charged a late fee. In writing, by certified mail. Then do it.

YOU should not have to call the bank, your tenant should. This is not your problem, your problem is that the rent is not being paid on time. Her problem is that her chosen method of payment is not accomplishing that.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 9:22AM
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Thanks for all the comments and advice. She has been a great tenant, very responsible. She also has a good deal going on this apartment. I'm pretty sure she will solve this problem if it's at all possible.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 2:04PM
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