Cash -- it’s an offer landlord can’t refuse
Question: I have read that landlords must accept rent payments by credit card. If so, must they accept any credit card, and can they pass along the fees they pay to the credit card company?
Answer: Landlords do not have to accept credit card payments for rent and have never had to, which also answers your other questions. They do, however, have to accept cash payments for rent if offered. Refusing to accept cash could subject the owner to a claim that the rent payment had been excused.
For the record:
12:00 a.m. April 29, 2006 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday April 29, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 48 words Type of Material: Correction
Rent increase: An item Sunday in the Apartment Life column in Real Estate said that, as of July 1, an apartment owner could raise the rent by 4% on the one-year anniversary of the tenant’s move-in date. That information applies only to city of Los Angeles rent-controlled properties.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday April 30, 2006 Home Edition Real Estate Part K Page 9 Features Desk 1 inches; 51 words Type of Material: Correction
Rent increase: An item in the Apartment Life column of the April 23 Real Estate section stated that, as of July 1, an apartment owner can raise the rent by 4% on the one-year anniversary of the tenant’s move-in date. That information applies only to city of Los Angeles rent-controlled properties.
Pursuant to Civil Code Section 1947.3, which became effective on Jan. 1, 2004, an owner may demand that the rent be paid in cash for three months if a tenant’s check is returned for insufficient funds. If the rental agreement provides for this, a simple note with a copy of the bounced check attached is enough to make the demand.
Landlord must wait to raise rent
Question: If I just moved into my apartment Jan. 1, can the landlord raise the rent by 4% on July 1, or must he wait until January of next year?
Answer: Your apartment’s owner cannot raise your rent in July or for the rest of 2006.
He must wait until at least Jan. 1, 2007, to raise your rent by the 4%, because that is the anniversary date of your move-in.
Duplex falls under rent-control law
Question: I rent one half of a duplex covered by Los Angeles’ rent control law. If the tenant in the other half of the duplex moves out, I would like to rent it as well, primarily to create a quieter living environment. However, I am wondering if under the rent control law, a duplex in which the same tenant rents both units would be considered a single-family home and, thus, exempt from rent control.
Answer: The units would not be considered a single-family home and would continue to be covered by Los Angeles rent control. However, the newly vacated unit would be temporarily rent-decontrolled, meaning the owner could raise its rent to the market level when it is re-rented. The rent would then become price-controlled again after the unit is leased.
Kevin Postema is the editor of Apartment Age magazine, a publication of the Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles, an apartment owners’ service group. E-mail questions about apartment living to AptlifeAAGLA@aol.com.