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  Home >> Checks/Money Orders >> Checks You Wrote  
How long can you wait to deposit a check?

If I wrote a check dated May 12, 2005, can my old landlord cash that check on May 9, 2007? I thought the normal time limit for cashing a check was six months, but everyone is giving me the runaround and he got away with it!

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Checks that are more than six months old are really in a sort of strange legal limbo. The bank they are drawn on can refuse to pay them, in which case the payee can go after the drawer of the check if money is still owed. The bank can also pay the check, if it does so in good faith.

That last means that the bank can pay the check unless it is aware that its customer doesn't want the check paid. In other words, if the bank has received a stop payment order on the check and the order is still effective (less than six months old, in most cases), the bank should refuse to pay. If there is no effective stop payment order in place, the bank can go ahead and pay the check.

The fact is, most banks haven't physically reviewed most checks for things like the check date for years. Reviewing every check would be impossible, given today's check volumes and personnel costs.

If you paid your former landlord and he was not entitled to the amount of your old check, your gripe is with him. If you owed him the money and he simply took a long time to get it by cashing your check, he was entitled to it. Published on BankingQuestions.com 5/17/07