Time To Drop The Drop Box

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Time To Drop The Drop Box

How are drop boxes even still a thing anymore??

If you watch the local afternoon news, or drink wine and get lost in YouTube wormholes, then you may already be aware of the demise of the drop box. In cities across the country, from Manhattan Beach to Manhattan island, more and more stories are surfacing about thieves stealing checks and money orders from drop boxes. They often cash them quickly and are never heard from again. The property management company and the tenants have to sort it out and if a thief has fished checks with a wire or perhaps vandalized and even stolen the whole box, a lot of headaches are coming everyone’s way.

‘Whose responsibility is it to complete the payment?’, ‘Who calls insurance?’, ‘Who has to eat the loss?’, ‘Who’s at fault?’, are all questions and issues that management and tenants need to address. Generally, a landlord assumes no responsibility until they confirm receipt of a check. However, whether or not the rental property’s drop box implies or expresses a receipt of check is a question only a legal battle is likely to answer.

Drop boxes have long been a hearty staple of apartments and rental properties and many homes still use them. However, updating to an online payment system is the best advice for providing security of rental payments. Some online payments are better than others, but even the worst still leave some type of digital footprint. But when a thief rips your entire lock box from your Hollywood rental property, it is gone. Maybe that criminal will not be able to open it, but neither will you.

If it would be detrimental to the relationship with current tenants to abandon the drop box, then at least also offer an online payment option. Make that information visible on the drop box and encourage all to use online without shaming those who do not. Eventually, you will transition completely away from the old, risky box and onto the safer and quicker internet. It is the 21st century. Drop the box already.


Stephen Gillikin is a writer, performer and renter living in LA county. When he's not outside enjoying the scenery of southern California, he likes spending time indoors with his cat, Cat.