Landlords don’t have to accept cash

In Canada you don’t have to accept cash, or any method of payment you don’t want to. For me, being a landlord, this is handy.

In canada it's legal to refuse cash About every two years we get a new wave of creative counterfeiting coming through. We also had a caretaker start stealing from us. (I’ll post the story of how we caught them another day….what an idiot!) When you think about it, having a caretaker with as much as $40,000 cash in their suite can be a huge liability for us and a personal risk for them. How’d we solve the problem?

We don’t accept cash for rent payments!

We’re also really strict about it. No cash, period. And we have refused cash, served an eviction notice, gone to the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Service, and had them uphold our right to go make the tenant go get a money order. (Costs about a buck at Safeway) That said, we do have an interac terminal in the office, which is 100% awesome.

What does the law say about it?

Perhaps a lawyer out there can find the exact line for me, but this one is directly from the Bank of Canada’s Legal Facts box.

Payment methods must be mutually acceptable to both parties (e.g. credit or debit card, cheque). Therefore, retailers do not break the law if they refuse bills.

So, to take that one step farther, we don’t accept cheques (or checks if you’re American) after a tenant has had one returned as NSF (non-sufficient funds). The same goes for pre-authorized withdrawls (PAW).

And finally, for the love of all things Holy, don’t accept credit card payments! That’s a great way to screw your tenants over by exploiting their weaknesses.

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  • Bill Turner

    A very old law in Canada states it is illegal to refuse Canadian Currency as a method of paying a dept. Law has been in force since the late 1800’s

  • In BC, I don’t believe our government supports a ‘no cash’ for rent policy.
    Also, for personal cheques and bank drafts, without having received a ‘receipt’ for your payment and even with one and the landlord loses your rental payment, the bank fees associated with replacement or Stop Payment is all on the tenant despite the landlord would be ‘at fault’.
    Finally, for those on a very tight budget, a bank draft or money order is good money wasted on a convenience for you ‘the landlord’ Chris.
    No offence but put yourself in others’ shoes.

  • BC Tenancy Act Branch says same thing on their website that lanlords CANNOT refuse cash.

  • In nova Scotia can a landlord kick tennent out for paying rent in cash? A method they said they could pay . And they do give receipt with every cash rent payment

    • A

      Hi Sara, I don’t know the specific rules regarding tenancy, but the issued discussed in my post would suggest that a landlord can refuse. That’s becoming more common as counterfitting becomes more of an issue and holding cash at an office is a security risk. I think the landlord would have a reasonable case to evict someone, particularly since it’s not hard to go buy a money order at a grocery store and then you’re not using the cash.

      • James Salter

        Since it is a request by the landlord for the benefit of the landlord then the landlord should reimburse for the money order. Also when was a money order $1??? Maybe that’s what my grandma paid when “a nickel bought a dollars worth” As she always says

      • I asked tennent board they said they cannot refuse payment in cash

  • You’re wrong. Maybe in Alberta you don’t have to accept cash, but you do in Ontario.

    • Peter is absolutely right. Section 108 of Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act stipulates that “neither a landlord nor a tenancy agreement shall require a tenant or prospective tenant to, (a) provide post-dated cheques or other negotiable instruments for payment of rent”. On Sept. 18th, 2014, Ontario’s Landlord & Tenant Board issued decision CEL-42492-14 which explicitly notes: “6. The Landlord unlawfully refused the rent when the Tenant, DA, attempted to pay the rent in cash for July 2014. The Landlord served the Tenant the Notice of Termination (N4) because the rent was not paid due to the Landlord’s refusal to accept cash.”