27 Sep Real estate Q&A: Landlord wants rent paid in cash
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Aug. 24, 2015 – Question: I am about to rent a new apartment, and the landlord put a clause in the lease that I have to pay the rent in cash – no checks or money orders. When I asked about it, I was told it was so he didn’t have to report the income and could continue receiving disability benefits. I am concerned that if there is a problem later I will not be able to prove that I paid the rent. Is this OK? – Anonymous
Answer: It is legal for a landlord to accept rent in cash as long as it’s agreed to in the lease. If you move forward with this apartment, be sure to get a dated and signed receipt for your payment each month, as well as one for any advance rent and security deposit.
It seems your landlord’s reason for insisting on cash is questionable, to put it mildly, so I would make sure everything else about the situation is legit. Check the property records online to make sure the landlord is the actual owner of the apartment. You can ask the landlord to show you his driver’s license to make sure he is who he says he is. Also, read the rest of the lease carefully to make sure there are no other strange terms.
Before renting any home, it’s a good idea to review the law regarding rentals. The statute is user-friendly and relatively easy to understand. By reading it, you will know what your rights and responsibilities are and can plan accordingly. But keep in mind that your written lease can modify most of these rules and create additional responsibilities for both parties. To find the statute, go to your favorite online search engine and search for “landlord tenant statute.”
About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He is the chairperson of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is an adjunct professor for the Nova Southeastern University Paralegal Studies program.
The information and materials in this column are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in this column is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.
Copyright © 2015 Sun Sentinel, Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.