The issue of requiring a residential tenant in California to pay their rent in cash is the topic of this blog post. A residential landlord in California cannot require any tenant to pay their rent in cash at the beginning of a lease as long as the premises being rented are residential. Many landlords in California do in fact demand that their tenants pay their rent in cash every month. However, unless the tenant has previously paid the landlord with a bad check, demanding that a tenant in California pay their rent in cash is prohibited by California law.
However there are exceptions to this general rule as will be shown by this blog post.
California Civil Code section 1947.3(a)(1) states in pertinent part that “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.”
However there is an exception to this rule if the tenant has previously presented the landlord with a bad check or another bad form of payment. This exception is found in Civil Code section 1947.3(a)2) which states in pertinent part that, “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.”
In these cases the landlord may require that a residential tenant pay their rent in cash as California Civil Code section 1947.3(a)(2) further states that, “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. The notice shall comply with Section 827 if demanding or requiring payment in cash constitutes a change in the terms of the lease.” (Emphasis added.)
Note that Civil Code section 827 requires at least 30 calendar days notice of any change in the terms of the lease. And any such notice must be served in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 1162 which means that the notice must be served in the same manner as a three-day notice.
A tenant cannot waive the provisions of Civil Code section 1947.3 as subdivision (e) states that, “(e) A waiver of the provisions of this section is contrary to public policy, and is void and unenforceable.”
As shown above a landlord in California cannot require a tenant to pay rent in cash for more than three months under any circumstances. After three months they must accept rental payments by other means such as a check or money order.
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The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.