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Due date can be negotiated

June 08, 2003|From Project Sentinel

Question: I am planning to move out of my parent's home into my own apartment. I need to set up a household budget to get ready to meet my obligation for paying rent. My friends say that rent is always due on the first of each month. Since I get paid during the third week of each month, is it legal to request that my rent be due on the third Friday of each month?

Answer: There is no legal requirement for rent to be due and payable on the first of each month, also known as "payment in advance."

In fact if there is no written rental agreement, Civil Code 1947 allows for rent to be due at the end of a rental period, which would be the end of each month. When it comes time to sign a rental agreement, you can request payment of the rent for any day of the month, but your landlord must agree.

However, if you moved into a rental unit at the beginning of the month, it seems unlikely that a landlord would allow you to live in the property for two or three weeks without paying rent. A suggestion would be to pay a prorated rent up to the actual date you want to have the rent due for future months.

To calculate a prorated amount, divide the monthly rent by 30, then multiply that amount by the number of days needed to pay the rent up to the desired due date.

Renters have right to choose floor

Question: I own a two-story apartment complex. I have always reserved the ground-level apartments for families with small children. My new resident manager mentioned this was not legal. Is he right?

Answer: Your policy of only renting first-floor apartments to families with young children limits their choice in housing to only a few of the available units in your building and would be considered discrimination. Preventing children from living on the second floor treats their families differently from other people and is therefore illegal discrimination under federal and state fair housing laws.

While your concern for the children's safety may be genuine, it is ultimately up to prospective tenants to make decisions about the safety of their family members. The best method to avoid liability is to maintain the property. Remember, anyone of any age can fall down a flight of stairs and be injured.

Tenant is entitled

to copy of lease

Question: A long-term tenant of mine has requested a copy of her rental agreement. In an effort to reduce my expenses, I declined her request. She says there is a law that requires me to provide a copy. Is this true?

Answer: California Civil Code 1962 requires that a property owner "provide a copy of a rental agreement or lease to a tenant within 15 days of its execution by the tenant." Additionally, the code requires that once each calendar year thereafter, the owner or owner's agent must provide an additional copy to the tenant within 15 days if the tenant requests another copy.

If the original or a copy is not available, within 15 days of a request an owner must furnish the tenant with a statement containing the name, telephone number and street address of all people authorized to accept personal service of documents and/or notices, rent payments and the method of how rent is to be paid.

An example of method of payment is cash, personal check or guaranteed funds.

This column is prepared by Project Sentinel, a rental housing mediation service in Sunnyvale, Calif. Questions may be sent to 1055 Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road, Suite 3, Sunnyvale, CA 94087, but cannot be answered individually. For housing discrimination questions, complaints or help, call the state Department of Fair Housing and Employment at (800) 233-3212, the Southern California Housing Rights Center at (800) 477-5977 or the Fair Housing Council, Fair Housing Institute or Fair Housing Foundation office in your area:

Bellflower: (562) 901-0808.

Carson: (888) 777-4087.

El Monte: (626) 579-6868.

Hawthorne: (310) 474-1667.

Pasadena: (626) 791-0211.

San Fernando Valley: (818) 373-1185.

South Los Angeles: (213) 295-3302.

Westside Los Angeles: (310) 474-1667.

Orange County: (714) 569-0828.

San Bernardino County: (909) 884-8056.

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