Couple says stolen rent payment could get them evicted

Erika Hill
Erika Hill
Eric McElduff
Eric McElduff

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Renters often use drop boxes to make their rent payments.  But one couple claims it didn't work out this time.

Eric McElduff and Erika Hill said their money order for their rent payment was stolen out of the Watermark at Eastchase's drop box, and someone else cashed the money order.  But, the couple and the apartment complex don't see eye-to-eye on what happens next.

"I'd be lying to say I wasn't angry," said Eric McElduff, a tenant at the complex.  "I just want it to be resolved."

Hill said she purchased the money order at the Chantilly Wal-Mart.  After she was told the money order hadn't been cashed for the rent, she filed a lost claim form.  A couple of weeks later, the couple found out that the money order had been cashed to a person she didn't even know.

"It didn't say anything that I have written on it," Hill said.   "It's an all new person who is the payee and the payer.  It's a Georgia address on it, not a Montgomery address."

Hill filed a police report in the case.  But she said the complex's management still says they owe rent for the month of May.

"They said there was going to issue an eviction," Hill said.  "And I let them know it was not on my premises, it was on your premises when it was stolen."

Attorney Kendall Dunson appears on WSFA 12 News Law Call.  He says the couple may have some recourse.

"If it can be successfully argued that the rental company has controlling possession of the lock box," Dunson said.  "Once you put that money order or check inside that drop box, it's in the rental companies possession therefore it is your responsibility to make sure it is kept safe and goes to whoever it's supposed to go to."

A representative for the Watermark at Eastchase's told WSFA 12 News us that they haven't seen any proof that the money order was reported stolen.  Until then, they feel it's just allegations.

The complex has not formally filed eviction papers yet.  The couple says they intend to bring the police report to the offices there.  They also may consult an attorney about their rights

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