In the State of California, a landlord’s refusal to accept your rent is a defense to an Unlawful Detainer eviction. In this column, attorney Eric Castelblanco will explain to you some of the important aspects of paying your rent on time, especially how and when to make a payment, to help you ensure a happy tenancy. Thus, in the very least, all tenants should comply with the following procedures for rent payment:
1. Pay Rent by Money Order: Although it may cost a few extra dollars to purchase a money order for your rent, they provide you with more security than cash or personal checks, they are very difficult to alter or steal, and they provide a built in receipt system. The money order stub is used in case of theft or alteration, shows the amount paid and the date purchased, and gives proof of payment in case it is disputed.
2. Always Pay Rent on Time: It is very important to always pay your rent on time! If you have a written agreement, pay on or before the date set forth under your agreement, even if you have paid on other dates in the past. If you do not have a written lease agreement, make sure you pay on the date agreed upon between you and your landlord.
3. Send Checks by Certified Mail: Additionally, if you are mailing your rent to your landlord, it is important for you to send them by certified mail. Not only is certified mail less likely to be lost, but it provides you with a receipt for your records, a tracking number for you to know where your rent is, and it requires your landlord to sign for the rent payment when they receive it.
4. Save Rent Receipts: Finally, anytime you pay your rent, it is important to request and save a written receipt from your landlord. Even if it’s a note they write by hand, it is important your landlord acknowledges your payment of the rent, and you save that in case of future problems.
Since 1995, attorney Eric Castelblanco has been dedicated to helping tenants understand and assert their rights. For more information about your rights, call 213-388-6004 or visit their website at: www.castelblanco.com. The information presented in this column is for educational purposes only. You should seek the advice of an attorney regarding your individual situation.