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FAQ: My rent check was returned for insufficient funds. What happens now?

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FAQ: My rent check was returned for insufficient funds. What happens now?

My rent check for $500 was returned by the bank for insufficient funds. My landlord wants to charge me a $25 fee and $300 to cover the fees he incurred because my check bounced. Is this right?

Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 13-6-15) permits a landlord, who received a check which was refused by the bank due to a lack of funds, to seek damages if the tenant does not pay the amount of the check and fees to the landlord within ten days of the landlord's written demand for payment. The landlord can charge a returned check fee which may not exceed $30 or 5% of the amount of the check, whichever is greater. The landlord can also charge for the amount of any fees charged by the bank due to the check being dishonored. If the landlord files a lawsuit, he can recover up to double the amount of the check for damages, but no more than $500 plus any court costs. Additionally, if the check was written with the knowledge that it would not be honored by the bank, the check writer could face criminal prosecution.

Last Review and Update: Sep 27, 2011