The weirdest thing happened today. My landlady sent me a note saying that I should be signing the rent checks (I have been doing this till now but the last check was written by my wife). We have a joint account and when I signed the lease I put my wife’s name on the lease.
I feel my land lady is bordering on harassment (there are other incidents) with these nonsensical notes she keeps leaving for me.
What is the law on this? Am I the only one who can pay her? What difference does it make, if the money is from a joint account and she can very well cash the checks?
If you were the only signatory to the lease, one could argue that you should be the one signing the rent checks. But since you say both you and your wife are named on the lease, then your landlord is just being an idiot.
Your landlord probably read some half-baked legal argument somewhere that advised her to be cautious about inadvertently accepting subsequent occupants.
If you were the only named tenant on the lease and you want to take care of this once and for all, you should read San Francisco Rent Board Rules & Regulations ??6.15D. Section 6.15D outlines the process by which you can add your wife to the lease as an approved subtenant.
If you and your wife moved into the unit together and the landlord was aware of that fact, you can simply tell the landlord that your wife is a “co-tenant” entitled to all of the same rights you have. You should be familiar with San Francisco Rent Board Rules & Regulations ??6.14 before you make that claim.
I’m guessing that your landlord simply doesn’t know what she’s doing as evidenced by the notes (always wonderful, damning evidence if a case comes to court.) Your landlord is also too cheap to hire an attorney to advise her about how to professionally mange her building.
What difference should it make? Not a bit. Especially when the Costa Hawkins Rental housing Act, which screwed rent-controlled tenants everywhere in California and should be repealed says:
Acceptance of rent by the owner shall not operate as a waiver or otherwise prevent enforcement of a covenant prohibiting sublease or assignment or as a waiver of an owner’s rights to establish the initial rental rate […] California Civil Code ??1954.53(d)(4).
I’d be willing to bet that you have lived in your unit for about five years. That’s the time some landlords begin to exhibit their “eccentricities.” Your landlord probably thinks it’s time for you and your wife to go so she can give herself a pay raise.
Dave Crow is an attorney who specializes in San Francisco landlord tenant law. However, the opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author, do not constitute legal advice, and the information is general in nature. Consult the advice of an attorney for any specific problem. You understand that no attorney-client relationship will exist with Dave Crow or his firm, Crow & Rose unless they have agreed to represent you. You should not respond to this site with any information that you believe is highly confidential.