We’ve previously written at length about when a rental service should cash a renter’s deposit check. The short answer: not until the renter’s application has been approved by the landlord or management company.
In my opinion, it’s outrageous conduct for a rental service to cash a check without knowing that a lease application has been approved. A recent Yelp review of Apartment People complained of this all-too-common practice and received the above response several days ago from Ilene Collins, the company’s CEO.
Note that Collins piles on the abuse by placing responsibility on the renter to verify that his check has cleared – 10 or more days after Apartment People received it.
You can protect yourself, to some extent, by using this Addendum (PDF) to the application forms that rental services use. Print out a copy, fill it out and have the rental service sign it if you’re completing an application with a rental service and giving them funds. If a rental service objects to signing it, move on. If the rental service signs the agreement and violates its terms, file a complaint with the State of Illinois (pdf). Mishandling of client funds is a very serious matter and can result in loss or suspension of a rental service’s license.