Residential Property Management/stolen rent money order


I live in California and back in April i paid my rent by way of money order. I left the mondey order in the after hours deposit box because the office was closed. 5 days later i received a call saying they only received 1 of the 2 money order checks that i put in the after hours drop box. after a week of doing my own investigating it was discovered that my money order was "washed", rewritten and cashed at a local bank. i filed a police report and gave all the info to the property management. Now in December they are harrassing me saying that I still owe $1000 for the check that was stolen from their office. Who is responsible for the check once it has been dropped in their night slot at their office. There is no sign on the door that states they are not responsible for anything left in the after hours dropbosx which is sttached to their front door. Since this incident they have taken away the after hours drop box. I dont feel that i should have to pay an additional $1000 because my check was stolen from their property. Is that not what they have insurance for? please advise

My first bit of advice is to drop the money order idea for payments of things such as rent. You're far better off getting a free checking account (available at most banks). As you discovered, money orders do not have the same security features as checks.

If the drop box was in a secure area, and if the property management company did not have a policy of not accepting that form of payment (and assuming your lease doesn't have a similar provision), then you may have an argument that they have some responsibility. However, your biggest challenge would be to prove that the money order actually made its way into the box. I suppose you could take the matter to small claims court and let a judge decide, but I'm not sure how to comment on that as I don't know what the management company's defense might be to that allegation.

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Mike Fortunato


Very familiar with all aspects of property management (tenant/landlord issues, lease administration, facilities maintenance, financials, etc). 25+ years in property management


I have been in real estate management for 25+ years, both residential and commercial properties. Currently own and operate a commercial and residential real estate management company in southern California.

IREM; BOMA; MLS; National Association of Realtors; California Association of Realtors

CPM (Certified Property Manager) and RPA (Real Property Administrator)

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