Now you know why you should not be paying rent by cash placed in a unattended box. It will be your burden to prove that the rent was paid. Given that you did pay late and appear to have money problem, the court likely would not believe that there was cash in the envelope, especially since you "seem to be the only one" whose cash disappears.
If you now have a notice to pay or vacate, you likely should comply or be prepared for the landlord to file an unlawful detainer (eviction) action against you.
Both you and the landlord would have to comply wiht the procedures contained in your written rental agreement and the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (Chapter 59.18 RCW). The statutes are here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=59.18 .
If you are within the City of Seattle's limit, the City does have addition landlord-tenant codes. You should check whether those codes are applicable to you.
There is an office in the King County courthose that helps tenants with eviction problems. Depending on your facts, the help that the office can provide may be limited.
Eviction proceedings are generally very fast. Do not delay in seeking help.
UNFORTUNATLY YOU ARE IN A TOUGH POSITION SINCE CASH IS DIFFICULT TO TRACK. MY QUESTION IS TO WHETHER IN THE PAST YOU HAD PAID TH LANDLORD N THE MANNER DESCRIBED. IF YOU DID YOU MAY BE ABLE TO ESTABLISH A PATTERN AND PRACTICE OF PAYING THE RENT. THIS WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO PROVE, HOWEVER IF YOU COULD GET THE LANDLORD TO ADMIT THAT THEY ACTUALLY RECEIVED THE CASH YOU MAY HAVE A CHANCE TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM.
IN ANY EVENT, FOR FUTURE RENTAL TRANSACTIONS MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS GET A RECEIPT OF PAY WITH CHECK.
I AM SORRY FOR YOUR DILEMA.
LAW OFFICE OF EVAN M. OSHAN
P.O. BOX 861
MERCER ISLAND, WA 98040
310 906 7137
Should you sue? For what?
I am not licesed to practice law in WA, so this is based on general principles of law. First of all I would love to know how you were able to get half the money in a money order and half in cash when you could have given the people who created the money order the cash and gotten a money order for the whole amount?
Anyhow, you can't prove that you paid. Thats what is comes down to. Why on earth you would stick $500 cash into a box that no telling who had access to is beyond me.
Unless you can demonstrate that you gave the landlord all the money, you are in default.