“Labor for Rent” Agreements in California (Instead of Cash)


Landlords will sometimes enter into an agreement with their tenant that allows the tenant to work and do chores around the house instead of paying rent money (or in exchange for a reduced monetary payment).  This practice should be avoided.  Landlords should not allow their tenants to work or provide labor in exchange for rent.

If the tenant-employee does not exercise discretion or independent judgment in performing the labor, and if the labor is valued at less than $1,150 per month, the tenant’s minimum wage, hours, and working conditions are regulated by law.  The amount of rent that the landlord may charge is also limited.

Furthermore, labor for rent arrangements in California may prove very difficult for the landlord to show the amount of rent due when it comes time to serve  a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit.

Therefore, landlords should NOT enter into labor for rent agreements with tenants in California.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction.

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