Renters in California will no longer need to worry if they choose not to pay their rent through electronic means.

Senate Bill 1555, sponsored by state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Marina del Rey) was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Sept. 6, making it illegal for a landlord to institute a policy requiring tenants to make their rental payments online.

State law does not specify how rent is to be paid.

“This is a victory for everyone who wants the option of paying rent in ways other than online, such as check or money order,” said Lieu. “The elderly, disabled and poor – or someone who simply wants to keep their options open, can now be assured paying rent online is but one option open to them.”

The senator’s office was contacted last year when tenants at several complexes in his district, including residents at Casa De Marina in Del Rey, were informed by their landlords and management companies that they would be required to pay their rents online

Many of these residents were senior citizens on fixed incomes living in rent-controlled apartments.

“Many residents are elderly, live on fixed incomes and have no computer,” Lieu said, adding that it was unreasonable to ask renters who may be struggling to make ends meet to invest in a computer, Internet access and related expenses in order to rent a residence.

SB 1055 was supported by the California Apartment Association and is co-sponsored by the Coalition for Economic Survival and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

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