The California Civil Code, Chapter 2, Section 1947.3 dictates the payment methods required for rent and security deposits and also describes the following circumstances in which a landlord can limit the method used for paying rent or collecting a security deposit:
One Other Form Besides Cash or Electronic Transfer
Except as provided in the subsection When Cash Only is Lawful, a landlord or a landlord’s agent shall allow a tenant to pay rent and deposit of security by at least one form of payment that is neither cash nor electronic funds transfer.
When “Cash Only” is Lawful
A landlord or a landlord’s agent may demand or require cash as the exclusive form of payment of rent or deposit of security if the tenant has previously attempted to pay the landlord or landlord’s agent with a check drawn on insufficient funds or the tenant has instructed the drawee to stop payment on a check, draft, or order for the payment of money. The landlord may demand or require cash as the exclusive form of payment only for a period not exceeding three months following an attempt to pay with a check on insufficient funds or following a tenant’s instruction to stop payment. If the landlord chooses to demand or require cash payment under these circumstances, the landlord shall give the tenant a written notice stating that the payment instrument was dishonored and informing the tenant that the tenant shall pay in cash for a period determined by the landlord, not to exceed three months, and attach a copy of the dishonored instrument to the notice.
Third Party Payment
Subject to the following limitations, a landlord or a landlord’s agent shall allow a tenant to pay rent through a third party:
- A landlord or landlord’s agent is not required to accept the rent payment tendered by a third party unless the third party has provided to the landlord or landlord’s agent a signed acknowledgment stating that they are not currently a tenant of the premises for which the rent payment is being made and that acceptance of the rent payment does not create a new tenancy with the third party.
- Failure by a third party to provide the signed acknowledgment to the landlord or landlord’s agent shall void the obligation of a landlord or landlord’s agent to accept a tenant’s rent tendered by a third party.
- A landlord or landlord’s agent may require a signed acknowledgment for each rent payment made by the third party. A landlord or landlord’s agent and the third party may agree that one acknowledgment shall be sufficient for when the third party makes more than one rent payment during a period of time.
Note: Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the tenant and landlord or agent to mutually agree that rent payments may be made in cash or by electronic funds transfer, so long as another form of payment is also authorized.
Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 233, Sec. 1. (AB 2219) Effective January 1, 2019.
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