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I live in a college town in California with a leased apartment. On June 26th, a noticed (in paper) was posted on our doors that the apartment complexes have been sold, effective immediately.

Part of the notice says, "Rent payments are to be made to the onsite management office." My single housemate currently in the apartment has confirmed that this means we must pay in-person at the office.

Given that we only got 5 days notice (rent is due at the end of the month), is it unreasonable to require us to pay in-person? Our other housemates are all 100+ miles away and expected to be able to pay online. Our request for an extension until the online payment system comes up (estimated sometime next month) was denied.

Basically, has the new management broken any laws (or reasonable expectations or such) by requiring in-person payment with 5 days notice?

Hypothetically, none of the people on the lease could have been onsite and we would have not known about the ownership change. Moreover, we would have expected to be able to pay online.

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First and foremost, what does the lease agreement say. This is a binding contract and generally cannot be changed unilaterally.

There are two issues here that need to be determined:

  1. Can, and if so how, the lease be transferred to a new landlord. Almost certainly the lease will address this issue and the new landlord must comply with these provisions

  2. There will almost certainly be provisions in the lease that detail when and how the rent is to be paid. The new landlord must comply with these.

So, either what they are doing is within the scope of the lease and you would be very wise to comply if you want to keep living there. Or it isn't and you would still be wise to comply because who, frankly, wants to start their relationship with a new landlord with an argument.

Since the other tenants have the ability to make online payments they can just transfer the money to the person who is on site and that person can pay the rent in person. I assume there is a sufficient level of trust between the housemates for this.

If you cannot comply and the landlord has not complied then draft a letter pointing out their non-compliance and explaining your circumstances and when and how you will pay. - they are unlikely to evict you in these circumstances.

If you cannot comply and the landlord has then you need to consider if the terms of the contract are within the laws of your jurisdiction - they probably are and its probably not worth going to court to find out. In theses circumstances again write a similar letter without pointing the finger. Any action the landlord then takes could be defended as being unconscionable - maybe.

I am not a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.

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    It is not unusual for leases to be silent on the matter of a sale of the building; state law controls in that case. Furthermore, state laws typically limit certain provisions of leases or prohibit them altogether. It is quite likely that the question can't be answered without reference to California landlord/tenant law. – phoog Jun 30 '15 at 7:35
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You can read about your rights as a California tenant at

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/catenant.pdf

This is rather ridiculous:

1) No judge will evict someone for paying rent by mail. (I assume you have the new landlord's address.)

2) If the landlord cashes the check you mail then he's not going to be able to claim you didn't pay the rent. If he actually refuses to cash your mailed check then that's all to the good for you.

3) You can ignore any requirements imposed by the new landlord that aren't in the lease, just as the landlord could ignore any new requirement imposed on him by you. Even some terms in a lease can be ignored, because not all terms in a contract are legal. (This is especially the case in tenant-landlord law.)

If you think there will be trouble then use certified mail.

  • To add to the above list of the reasons why this is ridiculous: 4) Landlords have enough trouble as it is dealing with deadbeat tenants. – user1254 Aug 31 '15 at 1:52
  • Hi, welcome to the site. Answers should stand alone - it is possible that the answer you are referencing may be deleted in the future so please edit your answer so it doesn't depend on it. Also, the use of les pejorative language is appropriate here. – Dale M Aug 31 '15 at 2:27
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    @DaleM: There is no reference to another answer in this answer. Did you mean the link to the California state website? (I read it as "background reading" rather than "here's your answer".) Finally, I don't seen any pejorative language? (Different interpretation of "ridiculous"?) – Martin Bonner supports Monica Feb 29 '16 at 14:02

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