Your Questions About Paper Trading Options

Donna asks…

Massachusetts Landlord Demanding Rent in Cash with No Lease: What Are Risks and My Options?

Landlord refuses payment of any kind that leaves a paper trail.
Most likely he is hiding income from IRS, and potentially an illegal rental.
But I am already in it and don’t want to make things sour, at least until I move out.
What to do to protect myself?

– The landlord lives on the premise. He rents out two independent units above and below ground attached to his house. Most likely not licensed as commercial rental.
– There is no formal lease. Rent amount decided over email and verbally.
– I paid two months rent in cash already.
– I agreed to pay rent in cash for the first month (requested in email), thinking this is because he does not know me yet.
– He didn’t sign the receipt for the first month.
– I decided to stay for the second month, I thought he’d accept check, but he insisted on cash.
– I obliged, but felt something is quite wrong, when I couldn’t withdraw the amount of cash in one withdrawal from ATM. And all in the 20’s made a big bundle.
– Only after I requested him to sign the receipts, he provided signed receipts for the two months.
– But, the signatures look almost intentionally made to look they are not quite identical.
– We verbally agreed for rental of a few more months. Still no signed lease.
– Since I’ve been traveling and I do not want to delay my rent payment, I sent him a check.
– Now the landlord is furious that I sent him a check and demands cash.

The rental itself is okay, livable place, slightly below the market price.

But I feel uncomfortable with paying rent in cash, for its inconvenience, safety risk and legal risk especially because his receipts did not look very legit.

Landlord even told me he’d offer a ride to the bank to get cash to him.
But I’d really rather not pass cash from my hand to his hand.
I even offered payment in money order if he doesn’t want check for some reason but it made him even more furious.

It looks like he is hiding income for sure, but this strong insistence made me speculate whether it is also an illegal rental. If that is a case, I probably shouldn’t be living in there in the first place?

I called the municipal authority housing resource line, but a very rude guy answered me that it is legal for the landlord to demand rent in cash, and he has the right to refuse check payment. He bluntly told me if I do not like it don’t live there.

I mentioned the illegitimate-looking receipts, and inquired about possibility of hiding income, but the guy told me MYOB. I am disappointed that this country seems to make things easy for illegal landlords!?

Anyways, I do not intend to stay more than a few months since I am moving out of state, but since the landlord is already sort of going weird about demanding cash, I do not feel comfortable living in the same dwelling, nor I feel comfortable handing cash to him. Feels like we are doing an illegal trade.

What to do?

Should I ask him to make me a written lease (which may make him furious, again), then give him a written notice that I am moving out in 30 days?

The worst thing that can happen is he throws away all my belongings during my absence, which he can be held illegal for sure, but would also give me a hell of troubles.

Or, just pay cash and hope things won’t go sour again, and quietly call the inspection officer on the day I move out and drop a 3934 form to IRS?

Until I rented from this landlord, I always paid my rent in check, and have clean credit history… so not that I cannot live in other places, but to be realistic, moving is a hell lot of a pain.
Thank you for your responses.


Yes, but my checks are good and have overdraft protection…
I would be more willing to pay cash if my check is bounced just once, but it seems that he is being unreasonable to refuse accepting good checks, or even money orders.

So it appears that it’s not about bad credit, but it’s actually about not leaving a paper trail of rent income.

Besides, don’t legitimate landlords have access to credit check?


There is no written lease, and it has been short of three months – does it not create Tenancy-At-Will yet?

I am not trying to get away from paying rent, but I just find the landlord’s insistence on cash unreasonable…

The rude and grumpy municipal housing office guy also told me that if I am concerned with my safety to deliver cash, I can ask a police officer to accompany me :/
I would think police officers are busy enough to say no, or even if they agreed, I am sure my landlord freaks out.

John answers:

Ok, I’m a MA landlord. Some of my tenants insist on paying money orders, some insist on paying with personal checks, some insist on paying cash. As long as they pay, I’m happy.

-There is no such thing as a “commercial rental” for residential real estate in MA. If you occupy a unit that complies with local ordinances, it’s ok to rent that space.
-Most small-time owners do not offer short term leases, consider yourself lucky.
-You paid your rent and wanted a receipt. I’m sure he could care less if you get a receipt but he still provided one after you asked.
-What difference does it make to you if you pay in cash or check? Obviously your landlord wants payment in cash. Any receipt you get, coupled with any proof you have of occupancy, will be enough to insulate you from any recourse.
-When YOU file your taxes, you will provide the name, address and phone number of your landlord.

I’m guessing you live in metro-Boston. The population here is as transient as it gets. There are tons of stories amongst landlords where non-residents skip town leaving bad checks in their wake even after renting spaces for a long time.

Pay your rent the way he wants it, pay it on time, and I can almost 100% guarantee that the next apartment you try to rent, he will give you a good recommendation.

Mary asks…

My ex has failed to return the plates of a truck registerd in my name and may be trying to use it as a trade..

He may be trying to use this vehicle as trade. First can I be implicated in fraud if he does this. 2nd my legal options are to get him to turn over the plates on his own or to file papers for operating without owners permission ~ a felony stop will be made. I don’t want him arrested but I can’t have the legal trouble that will insue if he and his pot smoking buddies get into a wreck in a truck that has my info attached to it. Any legal advice out there?

John answers:

Steal the plates late a night

Linda asks…

Can’t sell my car, what do I do?

I’m an international student about to leave the United States. I’ve settled all my business and moved all my stuff and the only thing I’ve left to do is to sell my 2003 Mazda 6 but I can’t seem to sell it.

I’ve advertised in the local paper as well as It’s been over a week now and other than a scam message, there are no other interested parties. I was thinking of renewing the ads for one more week, lowering the price slightly and also advertise in a local trade paper.

I really need to sell my car in order to settle a couple of credit card bills. I don’t have a lot of time left until my visa expires. What other options are there? I was told I could always sell it to a mazda dealer, is that true, and if so how do I go about contacting them?

John answers:

Keep advertising and lowering your price until it sells. If you want to sell it to the dealer,just drive into a dealer and ask what they will give you for it. You can go to about any dealer and for the right price they will prob buy it. Keep in mind you will get far less from a dealer than selling it to a private party because the dealer needs to make money when THEY sell it.

Nancy asks…

What are my options if the dealer needs my new car back?

About 9 days ago I bought anew, 2010 car. I used my SUV as a $2000 trade-in. I signed all the papers and drove off only to have the finance company call the very next day. They said the process was not complete and they asked me to fax them some documents such as a tax return. I did that and never heard another word. I had no reason to think there were any problems until the dealer who sold me the car called yesterday. They said the financing company was having an “issue” and that it is possible the dealership MIGHT ask for me to return the car.

1) What becomes of the $2000 my SUV was worth? The SUV is gone…they sent it off for auction.

2) Assuming they give me the 2k back, I am being told that they can charge me for depreciation on the car since I have driven it for over a week now. Since we had some snow a week ago, the front fender was slightly damaged from ice on the road so I am going to be held liable for that too?

Sounds to me like they can ask for the car back AND keep the 2k my SUV was worth. What if I just said “no” to returning it if they won’t give me my 2k? I think it sucks that I could leave there with a stack of signed papers in my hand and then learn a week later that the car may not be mine anymore. Any thoughts?
I was 100% honest on the application. Since I am self-employed the finance company asked for a copy of my divorce decree and my 2009 taxes, which I faxed to them immediately. I am being told that the dealer has the right to demand the car back because unless the finance company pays them then they basically sent me home with a “loaner” car. Of course, I assumed that when they had me sign 20 documents and handed me the keys that the car is mine. It now has 1500 miles on it so they gave me a new car and it appears I might return it to them as used. Good luck with that. It seems it would be to their advantage to make the financing work.

John answers:

Unless you lied on your application, then I see no reason why they wouldn’t be liable to refund your 2k. Actually I’d ask for retail value back. If it’s proven that it was the dealerships fault. I’d think you could sue for full value of your trade-in, and not just the trade-in value. You’ll be left without a vehicle. I’m sure dealerships have some hidden clause to deal with this type of problems somewhere in that stack of papers you signed.
I would request to talk to the manager over the telephone, and have him explain exactly what happened, and why you didn’t qualify. This is the a huge problem across the country, Dealerships are so desperate to sell a car, they let anyone drive off the lot with a new car. The only one that gets punished is the consumer.

Helen asks…

Closed forex account coz of gambling issues then month later i rang reopened without paperwork is that legal?

i was trading with cmc markets. And lost thousands on Forex market. Rang up eventually after months and said close account as i had gambling problems. When i first opened the account i was asked for lots of paper work before i could trade again. 1or 2 months later i rang CMC Markets and can i open an account. The guy over the phone got a new account active in which i lost another 13000$. Manic problems led to more debt. I just wish they had off asked for paper work i would have not reopen 🙁 Do i have any legal options to get some money back? i guess not. Cheers for anyones help. As im broke. owe 28000 debt on visa card.

John answers:

Lesson learned dude. With regards to legality, I guess there is no law on that considering it is virtual. However, you can ask your broker. Some offers a sort of rebates to those losing traders. . I heard that from my uncle. He is into trading too

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