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It’s up to the landlord to give updated bank number to tenant

From Project Sentinel

Question: For more than three years, my landlord has required me to send the rent payment directly to his bank account. I just received a notice from him that this month’s rent was late and I owed a late fee. It turns out he changed bank account numbers without notifying me, and there was a delay in crediting my payment. I don’t think I owe the late fee because I deposited the rent check on time. What do you think?

Answer: Civil Code 1962 requires a landlord to provide certain information to a tenant and keep that information current. This requirement includes providing a valid bank account number, address and location for making payments. Assuming the landlord failed to give you updated bank information, the late fee would be improper.

Owner has to put in a phone jack

Question: I manage a large apartment complex. The property owner has decided to add a clause to all rental agreements stating that if an existing or prospective tenant has a cell or wireless telephone, there will not be any hard-wire telephone service provided. Is this OK?

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Answer: No. Civil Code 1941.4 states that the owner of a rental property is responsible for installing at least one usable telephone jack and maintaining the inside wiring. This wiring must meet the applicable standards of the most recent National Electrical Code as adopted by the Electronic Industry Assn. Even though a tenant may have a cellphone, this does not guarantee he or she will in the future. There also is the concern that the cellphone may not offer the same help during an emergency. Not providing a usable telephone jack may create a liability for the property owner, even if the tenant chooses not to have service.

No photos, please, until tenant is out

Question: When I told my resident manager that I was going to move out of my apartment, she began to show the unit to new tenants. During one of the visits, the manager and prospective tenants started taking pictures of the unit and my belongings. When I asked them to stop, the manager told me they had the right to take photos. I think I have the right to deny picture-taking. What do you think?

Answer: As a tenant, you have a right to privacy, guaranteed by the California Constitution. There is no business justification for a prospective tenant to take photos of your personal belongings that would outweigh your right to privacy. This also applies to the manager’s actions.

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If prospective tenants are concerned about placement of furniture and size of rooms, they, or the manager should bring a tape measure.

As far as the manager’s picture taking, it would be more productive to take photos after you have vacated and the unit is empty. This is a good idea for you to do as well.

Redeposit service takes 7 to 10 days

Question: Several of my landlord friends and I disagree about requesting our banks to redeposit rent checks that do not clear the first time. What do you think of this practice?

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Answer: The practice of having your bank automatically redeposit checks has an upside and a downside. The upside is that the bank takes on the administrative task of dealing with a nonsufficient check, thereby relieving you of extra work. The downside is that when the check is redeposited and does not clear the second time, a period of time (usually seven to 10 days) has passed before you become aware of a potential nonpayment situation. The decision is a personal one. If you think the length of time that passes is not inconvenient, then by all means have the bank redeposit.


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