Can I dispute a check where tenant wrote payment in full on the check payment?
The law in California is unclear as to the consequesnces on cashing a check marked paid in full. Under one statute, cashing the check does not amount to accepting full payment for a disputed claim by accord and satisfaction if the notation is deleted or stricken out.
The following are CA statutes:
(a) Where a claim is disputed or unliquidated and a check or
draft is tendered by the debtor in settlement thereof in full
discharge of the claim, and the words "payment in full" or other
words of similar meaning are notated on the check or draft, the
acceptance of the check or draft does not constitute an accord and
satisfaction if the creditor protests against accepting the tender in
full payment by striking out or otherwise deleting that notation or
if the acceptance of the check or draft was inadvertent or without
knowledge of the notation.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the acceptance of a check or
draft constitutes an accord and satisfaction if a check or draft is
tendered pursuant to a composition or extension agreement between a
debtor and its creditors, and pursuant to that composition or
extension agreement, all creditors of the same class are accorded
similar treatment, and the creditor receives the check or draft with
knowledge of the restriction.
A creditor shall be conclusively presumed to have knowledge of the
restriction if a creditor either:
(1) Has, previous to the receipt of the check or draft, executed a
written consent to the composition or extension agreement.
(2) Has been given, not less than 15 days nor more than 90 days
prior to receipt of the check or draft, notice, in writing, that a
check or draft will be tendered with a restrictive endorsement and
that acceptance and cashing of the check or draft will constitute an
accord and satisfaction.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the acceptance of a check or
draft by a creditor constitutes an accord and satisfaction when the
check or draft is issued pursuant to or in conjunction with a release
of a claim.
(d) For the purposes of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), mailing
the notice by first-class mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the
address shown for the creditor on the debtor's books or such other
address as the creditor may designate in writing constitutes notice.
(a) If a person against whom a claim is asserted proves that
(1) that person in good faith tendered an instrument to the claimant
as full satisfaction of the claim, (2) the amount of the claim was
unliquidated or subject to a bona fide dispute, and (3) the claimant
obtained payment of the instrument, the following subdivisions apply.
(b) Unless subdivision (c) applies, the claim is discharged if the
person against whom the claim is asserted proves that the instrument
or an accompanying written communication contained a conspicuous
statement to the effect that the instrument was tendered as full
satisfaction of the claim.
(c) Subject to subdivision (d), a claim is not discharged under
subdivision (b) if either of the following applies:
(1) The claimant, if an organization, proves that (A) within a
reasonable time before the tender, the claimant sent a conspicuous
statement to the person against whom the claim is asserted that
communications concerning disputed debts, including an instrument
tendered as full satisfaction of a debt, are to be sent to a
designated person, office, or place, and (B) the instrument or
accompanying communication was not received by that designated
person, office, or place.
(2) The claimant, whether or not an organization, proves that
within 90 days after payment of the instrument, the claimant tendered
repayment of the amount of the instrument to the person against whom
the claim is asserted. This paragraph does not apply if the
claimant is an organization that sent a statement complying with
subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1).
(d) A claim is discharged if the person against whom the claim is
asserted proves that within a reasonable time before collection of
the instrument was initiated, the claimant, or an agent of the
claimant having direct responsibility with respect to the disputed
obligation, knew that the instrument was tendered in full
satisfaction of the claim.