Pursuant to Civil Code § 1947.3, a landlord or a landlord’s agent shall allow a tenant to pay rent and the security deposit by at least one form of payment other than cash or electronic funds transfer.
As an attorney, I always discourage the practice of allowing tenants to pay via electronic funds transfer and cash for many reasons. Nevertheless, many landlords will allow (and even require) tenants to pay the rent by electronic transfer. The payment of rent and security deposits via electronic transfer or cash is legal, so long as the landlord also allows the tenant to pay the rent and security deposit by a method OTHER THAN cash or electronic transfer. Cash or electronic transfer payments cannot be the SOLE way to make the payment.
Notwithstanding the above, 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. The landlord may demand or require cash as the exclusive form of payment only for a period not exceeding three months following an attempt to pay with a check on insufficient funds or following a tenant’s instruction to stop payment. 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.
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