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I'm renting a room from a person, not a large organization; it's a monthly rental. He claims he just saw I had missed my monthly rent payment from April of last year. I don't have an easy way to check back more then a year ago to see if I made the payment.

Now realistically I don't see this going to court one way or another; I have every intent to figure things out and if I really did miss a payment pay it now. However it makes me curious what is the legal obligation in such a case? Is my inability to definitively prove I gave him money a year ago make me responsible if he says he doesn't show the electronic payment on his end? Or is there some sort of statue of limitations on his being able to claim a missed payment?

I live in Maryland.

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    How did you pay? Financial records like bank statements are kept for at least 5 years. You said electronic payment, you should be able to download the relevant statements easily; at most you need to request them from customer service.
    – user71659
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 19:11
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    Your terminology is unclear, but it seems that you are the Renter/Tenant and the person who is claiming a missed payment is the Landlord. It is difficult for the landlord to conclusively prove they didn't receive a payment. If they are claiming payment was not received, you can best dispute it by providing records that you did send payment (specific date, payment method, updated balances, cleared checks, etc)
    – abelenky
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 19:27
  • @user71659 I paid via zella, but have since closed the bank account I used. I'm sure I can (and I will) get the record somehow from them, it's just not as easy. I'm more asking what would happen if I couldn't for some reason out of curiosity.
    – dsollen
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 19:29
  • @dsollen If there was a full-scale lawsuit, they could subpoena your bank records and you'd be in the same place, perhaps poorer by the bank's legal process fee.
    – user71659
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 19:37
  • If I paid rent, my "Barclays Bank" app would know all the payments that I made in the last five years. Including payments made before I installed the app. Maybe you have something similar?
    – gnasher729
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 23:44

1 Answer 1

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If you want to be argumentative about it, the burden of proof is on the person making the accusation. This also means the burden of production is, too. Underlying the whole matter is a claim that you've engaged in "breach of contract," namely failing to pay rent. Your legal obligation is to not engage in contract fraud nor breach of contract. You are to exercise due diligence in resolving any breach of contract.

You may ask the lessor to provide evidence in support of the claim while admitting that you have difficulty looking that far back into the issue. The idea here is to "work with" the lessor rather than immediately taking an adversarial stance. Normal people become very disgruntled by those taking an immediate adversarial approach rather than seeking to work with the other person to resolve the dispute.

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