California bars requiring online rental payments

A recent bill was passed in California barring landlords and rental property management officials from requiring tenants to pay rent online, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The bill, known as SB 1055, was introduced by Senator Ted Lieu, who developed the legislation after learning that the manager of a 300-unit development was requiring tenants to pay rent online.

During the Senate hearing, Lieu explained that SB 1055 is designed to avoid discrimination against poor or elderly residents who may not have access to the internet or a computer.

Many landlords have begin to shift processes online, including rent payment and leasing applications, because it makes the rental process simpler and more efficient. While this is often the most sensible way to run a business, requiring tenants to pay online without considering their means is not a sign of an interactive landlord-tenant relationship.

The bill has been sent for approval to Governor Jerry Brown, and is supported by the California Apartment Association, which represents landlords and property managers, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which represents tenants.