When you have someone getting ready to move into one of your properties ALWAYS collect the move-in monies in “Real Money”. When you have a Tenant getting ready to move into your property, typically you will trade them the keys to the property for their final balances due; deposits and first month’s rent, etc. Always collect these funds in what we call “real money”… cashier’s check or money order.
To help your case, be sure that you state in their lease agreement that “only cashier’s check or money order will be accepted when paying final move in amounts.” This way, you have discussed the issue with them and they have signed off agreeing to that. In fact, depending on how much time is between them paying their holding deposit and their move in, if there is not sufficient time for a personal check to clear, you may want to require that all funds paid by them are “real” money also. If you do allow for the holding deposit to be a personal check, make sure that it has cleared their bank before you give them the keys to your property.
Why go through all this “brain damage”? Well, unscrupulous Tenants have been known to pay their move-in funds with a personal check, get their keys and promptly stop payment on their check. Then the Landlord (you) have given possession to the Tenant, have no money, no income and a couple of months of legal wrangling to look forward to before you can get your property back. And don’t forget about the make ready costs to market your property again! In summary, don’t take unnecessary risks with your property. Always collect move in funds in REAL Money.