Rental Deposit Refunds and a source of much frustration!

I do believe I ranted here a while ago about a certain family member leaving us in the lurch. And also about our recent home purchase and subsequent renovations. That is still ongoing, and I know I haven’t posted any photos lately… it’s been an odd couple of weeks. I’ll get some photos up shortly, as the kitchen is nearing completion.

Anyway, rant time. When we rented the last house we were in, it was through Invitation Homes. They were fine on the whole. When we left the house we didn’t actually expect to get any of our deposit back, but a couple of weeks later we received a check in the mail. Sadly, this check had all of our names on it… including the aforementioned person who bailed, and between each of the three names on the check was a simple word “and”… :angry: Our bank, Capital One, says that since she isn’t on our account, she has to come with us to a branch. One issue… the third name is in CA and we are in WA. Another issue… even if she was in WA, there are no Capital One branches in WA!!!

Ok, this happened with the previous rental as well. We called them and they re-issued the check with just Jan’s name on it. Problem solved. We called Invitation Homes and they won’t re-issue the check. They adhere to their policy and that’s all there is to it. Ok, fine, we’ll take the check with us when we go to CA for Christmas and then we can all go cash it. Oh wait, it expires in 90 days from being issued… so it’ll be expired in November!

According to whomever Jan spoke with, another group with 4 names on the check all moved to different states and are in the process of having the check mailed around to each person to get their signature along with notarized letters allowing one person to cash the check! How is this a reasonable expectation?!?

Ok, rant over. Invitation Homes doesn’t know Jan… they are in for a workout. :hear_no_evil: :see_no_evil: :speak_no_evil:


I deposit unsigned checks through my ATM all the time. Maybe that’d work?


Our initial attempt was via the bank’s app and it was cancelled because all three names weren’t on the account.

There are no Capital One specific ATMs in WA (they are all third party) so I wouldn’t want to be out the check itself and not have the deposit approved. It’s a matter of the names on the check not matching the names on the bank account.

1 Like

Man, one of the weirdest things i recall from my time in the USA was that people still used cheques so much.
I remember people going to the supermarket and paying with cheques, paying at restaurants with them even!
This was 10 years ago, have things changed?

I would say the last cheque i ever received was > 5 years ago and that was a tax refund from the Government whilst they were setting up my Tax Portal EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer)


We don’t use them much, but we do still use them. Some industries are far behind the times. When we were dealing with transferring my previous 401K, they wanted us to fax stuff. I went to my admin and asked what our fax number was… “We don’t have one” was the answer. We had to scan/email everything, and one thing they stated we had to have wet-signed, so I had to mail the forms back to CA to my old boss, and then to the 401K person in CA. In the end they scanned/emailed it, so why couldn’t we have done that from the start?!


Wow… over here someone running a fax machine is usually code for an off-the-books business.

Even our government now accepts digital signatures.

As far as signatures are concerned i still have my hanko from Japan. Over there they don’t sign but use a stamp in red ink (if you are high class - or in my case have generous friends - then that ink is vermilion). When ‘signing’ something you butt both pieces of paper together and make your stamp. If there are any legal problems they bring in a microscope to check for abnormalities!

They are a really cool gift to get made for friends if you ever visit Japan


Last rental I was in the contract had a clause stating to whom the deposit funds would be returned. Fortunately it had all come out of my pocket in the beginning, so we solved that in that clause. Definitely simplified things since the other person died of cancer half way through the lease.

If your contract had something similar, they may not have a legal option to NOT include all of you in it. Still, lots of trouble to go through.


As a landlord, I have to return deposits back to whomever paid them. Right now, it’s a husband and wife. If they were to separate, it would be on them to determine how to get the appropriate funds to each other, after I return the funds to them both.


While I understand the principle behind this approach, the logistics of it are crazy. If multiple people paid deposits, then multiple checks should be issued, one to each person who made the deposit. Sending one check with multiple names is guaranteed to be an issue every single time so long as any one of those people isn’t named on the bank account trying to cash the check. It seems like a very common problem with an incredibly easy solution that the rental company is blind to. (Maybe not blind to, but at the very least apathetic about it)

Why can’t they just divide the deposit into equal parts and distribute multiple checks?

In this case it isn’t about distributing the funds to the correct people, its about cashing the check in the first place.

Absolutely do the ATM trick.

As the primary industry in the US that insists on using a fax are medical insurance companies and hospitals, I’d say you’re not far off. I’d say the second are financial services companies, so again yeah.

As regards checks, in the business world they’re still used quite a bit.

In personal life the various government agencies will generally take checks or credit cards, but unlike nearly all companies they will charge you an extra 3% to use a credit/debit card.

I’ve actually gone backwards from EFT and now pay nearly all my bills with a check because it keeps me in control. Try and change electronic payment information in a hurry in the US and if you can get a 90% success rate you’re doing awesome.

edit: To clarify, I’ve gone back to check for bills that are sent to me. Retail is all plastic or cash.


My lease has multiple spots for deposits, so if multiple people gave me separate deposits, I could return them separately. But, if the deposit was a “joint” deposit, then I can’t make the decision to split the money. If there were a legal dispute between the other parties, I could be accused of theft.

I only have one rental property, so I don’t have to deal with this much, but it is something that I researched before becoming a landlord.


Ok. Say there was a single deposit made via check written by Chad Martinell. However there are two names on the lease, Chad Martinell and Jan Martinell. Would the refund check have just Chad Martinell on it, or would it have both Chad and Jan? As far as I know we paid the deposit and the third name paid us back.

On my lease, the deposit would go back to you individually. It goes back to who paid the deposit, not to who has their names on the lease.

Edit: And, it gets returned with interest for the time that I had the money.


It’s good for the lease to be specific. In the lease I had, if the field was left blank, then it was assumed that everyone on the lease had provided a joint deposit. So in your case, if it was left blank, then the deposit would go to Chad and Jan. If the lease indicated that Chad paid it, then it would go to Chad. Or if it was $2000 total and Chad paid $1500 and Jan paid $500, it would be reimbursed as such.

I presume that amounts held back for covered items would be taken proportionately, so if $400 were held back in that last case, Chad would get back $1200, and Jan $400.

YMMV, IANALandlord :slight_smile:

1 Like

When I get my Glowforge, I intend to make custom seals for me and friends cut from delrin (like engineer, lawyer seals). And I’d like to do some basic casting with molds to make wax seal stamps. Nowhere near as cool as hanko, though. :slight_smile:


Hankos are kind of special, like mystical or so. I still have mine when I studied Sumi-e :grinning:


You should be able to engrave one out of a piece of Corian. That’d give a nice stone-like stamping material.


I’ve not heard of Corian being a popular material for it, though it might work fine. Delrin is common because it also remains somewhat slippery when pressed into its negative mold, which is good for not cutting paper fibers.


Yeah, I’m not sure corian would be common, but stone stamps are, so it’d be kind of close. =)

1 Like