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I just received my security deposit refund for last year's apartment, and it's made out to both me and my roommate. Unfortunately we are now living far away from each other.

The check is made out to "His name & My name".

I would like to endorse it and then mail it to him so that he may deposit it (I owe him money anyway). What is the proper way to do this?

If I sign my name, can he sign his and then deposit it in his account? Should I write "Pay to the order of his name"?

I understand that both of us need to endorse the check for it to be deposited, but I want to effectively sign it over to him so that no complications come up when he's trying to deposit it in his own account.

Edit: This is in the United States, btw.

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Have him call his bank and ask what their rules are for this situation, then do what they tell you. (It's not foolproof -- sometimes the person on the phone disagrees with the person at the window...) –  bstpierre Jun 29 '11 at 15:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think it depends on the bank rules, on both sides. Arguably, because of the "&", the bank where your room mate is going to deposit it might require you to be present as well.

I'm quite certain that both of you have to be present for cashing, but for depositing - check with the bank where it's going to be deposited. It would be safe to have both signatures (as you described), but it may happen that they'll refuse to deposit it if it's a non-joint account and only one is present. I would suggest calling and asking them.

If you can have the landlord change it to "and/or" instead of "and" - it would definitely make your life easier.

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+1 For getting the check changed. If you can get the remote roommate to call or write letter authorizing such a change, it will make getting the money easier. –  MrChrister Jun 29 '11 at 17:13
    
It's tricky but I'm accepting this one for the "check with the bank" comment. That's what I had him do. His bank instructed me to endorse "Pay to the order of ...", sign it, and mail it to him. They also required a photocopy of my ID (to show that I was the one endorsing it), and proof of what the check was for (the "Rent deposit refund" memo sufficed). –  Sapph Jul 12 '11 at 22:31

The easiest way to handle this is to endorse the check "For Deposit Only" without signature, deposit a check, and pay your roommate out of band. Deposit via ATM will result in less hassle as well.

Multi-party endorsements are very unusual these days, and you'll probably get grief from the bank unless both names are on the account, particularly if you are living in different states.

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This works!?! this happened to me, and luckily the guy was still local, but it was indeed a big hassle. –  MrChrister Jun 29 '11 at 17:12
    
because stuff deposited to accounts has more of a 'trail' to it banks seem to be a lot more lenient than if you were 'cashing' the check, so yes this may well work. –  Chuck van der Linden Jun 29 '11 at 21:33
    
Absolutely... The entire point of "for deposit only" notation is to allow an untrusted third party (courier, secretary) deposit a check made out to a person on the account. Unless the check is for a large amount (where large is per bank policy -- $25k in NYC) you will not have an issue presenting the check. –  duffbeer703 Jun 29 '11 at 23:24

If you think there's going to be a big hassle with depositing the check, then it might be easier to ask the landlord if you could bring them the check you have and get them to replace it with two checks, each for half the amount, with one made out to him, the other to you. (and a memo line entry that each one is for 1/2 of damage deposit)

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