Bellevue apartment tenant warns of dropbox rent check theft

A Bellevue senior citizen is warning others about placing rent checks in dropboxes.
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 10:25 PM CST
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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) - After two years in the same apartment at Bellevue Gardens, Jodi Wilson got a shock on the door.

“I’m going to be thrown out of the place I live because I can’t afford it because I paid the rent,” said tenant Jodie Wilson. “Why should I have to pay my rent twice?”

Jodie says she has always paid rent in full and on time with a bank cashier’s check, and last September was no exception.

It’s the middle of a workday, and the apartment manager’s office is locked. Tenants say he’s here three days a week, so when he’s not here, they rely on a drop box to pay rent. Tenants enter a locked laundry room, and Jodie says she remembers paying the month’s rent that the landlord claims she owes.

“I put my rent check in here in an envelope, and I stuck my hand in to make sure it went down,” Wilson said.

Bellevue Police tells 6 News the apartment complex management reported a break-in at the office. Two tenants filed rent check theft reports. This tenant didn’t receive an eviction notice.

“They were charging me a late fee forever, and I just kept fighting it, and they took it off,” Wilson said.

Jodie’s son filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and Denizen Management of Indiana replied that several late notices had been sent. After four months, the landlord won’t allow more time.

“Did everything in good faith and everything by what we were instructed to do so she shouldn’t be evicted,” said Zach Owens.

Filing a police report for a check stolen from the landlord’s drop box may not cover your rent responsibility, so the Fair Housing Center says to get proof you paid that way.

“Take a video of the check and then actually take a video of you dropping it in the drop box,” said Joe Garcia with the FHC. “That will prove you put it in there.”

The management company claims it gave Jodi time to seek reimbursement from her bank, which confirms the theft report. But a cashier’s check is the same as cash, and when someone scribbled a signature on the back and cashed it, her rent money was gone.

“I refuse to pay the rent again,” Wilson said. “They lost the check, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not my fault.”

In the response to the BBB, the landlord says online and cash-pay apps are other ways to pay the rent. There’s a five-day grace period if tenants wish to wait until a manager is in the office.

The renter’s son tells 6 News that late today, a charitable organization, Lift Up Sarpy County, paid the landlord for the amount of the stolen rent check and late fees. Whether the eviction process continues remains to be seen.