Legality of post dating checks

According to California's bad check law, writing a check with the intent to commit fraud or knowingly writing a check when there are insufficient funds to cover the full amount of the check are both illegal.

However, if the tenant writes the check with the intent to have funds in the account on the date that the check is postdated for, there is no intent to commit fraud or pass a worthless check and therefore no illegal activity has technically taken place.

Consumer advocates who spoke with Consumerist say that while there are several reasons someone might think it’s a good idea to use a postdated check, it’s not generally recommended.

Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for our colleges at Consumers Union, tells Consumerist that sending a postdated check can be an indicator to the recipient that the check-writer is in dire financial straits.

It is not illegal to write a post dated check nor to give it out as long as there is no illegal intent.

Accepting a postdated check from a tenant may seem like a surefire way to get the money that you are owed, but this does not always lead to payment and sometimes may even lead to further complications.

She says that many people who end up falling into predatory lending traps like payday loans have also used postdated checks to try to stave off debt collectors.

But if the consumer gives notice to the bank, the institution must only wait 14 days before processing the note – even if that happens to be before the date on the check.

In situations in which the tenant can be trusted, the landlord has known the tenant to be an honest, on-time payer or the landlord otherwise believes that the money will be in the tenant's account on the date the check posts, accepting a postdated check can be beneficial.

A postdated check does show the tenant's will to pay, and if the funds are in the account on the date the check is cashed the landlord will receive the money.

Her work has been featured by a number professional websites since she started writing in 2005.

Lamphere holds a Bachelor's degree in business management and is an experienced author, content manager and editor.

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