Residential Apartment Manager Lawyer in Los Angeles, California
The Leichter Law Firm, APC founder and residential apartment manager attorney in Los Angeles, Aryeh Leichter, knows that California law requires every apartment building with more than 16 units to have an onsite property manager.
He also knows that every onsite property manager is an employee — not an independent contractor.
This distinction is important because it entitles the apartment manager to minimum wage requirements, overtime wages, rent reduction credits, and maximum rent caps, among other benefits and protections afforded to employees throughout the state.
If you are a residential apartment manager in California and believe you are not being paid the compensable wages you are owed, contact the California employment lawyer at Leichter Law Firm, APC today to discuss your case during a free consultation.
What are the Minimum Wage Requirements for Residential Apartment Managers in Los Angeles, California?
California apartment complexes that employ more than 26 employees must pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour, effective January 1, 2022. The state’s minimum wage is $14 per hour for employers with less than 26 employees, but it is set to rise to $15 per hour by 2023.
Adding to the employment complexity, based on the location of the apartment complex the employee is managing, the city may have a higher wage requirement than California’s minimum wage, thereby requiring employers to comply with the city’s higher amount.
No matter how many workers the apartment complex employs, or where it is located, the employer is responsible for keeping accurate management records and has the burden of proof to dispute the manager’s accounting.
Are There Exceptions to California’s Minimum Wage Requirements for Apartment Managers?
Residential apartment managers often live rent-free or pay a lower amount as part of their employment compensation. The amount of rent that can be credited toward their compensation is strictly enforced, and many property management companies or building owners who employ resident apartment managers fail to abide by these legal requirements.
Exceptions can be made for a credit against the wages due in exchange for the employer providing the employee with free or discounted rent for the manager’s onsite apartment.
If the apartment is not supplied rent-free or discounted, the employer must abide by the most current maximum rent caps applicable to state laws or local ordinances.
There are three lawful ways for residential managers to receive compensation, and it is important that a written understanding exists between the property manager or building owner employer and resident manager-employee:
- No Exchange Option – Free rent and payment received for all hours worked
A manager is paid at least minimum wage for every hour worked
Example: On-site manager receives a 1-bedroom apartment free of charge and works 40 hours per week at a rate of $14.00/hour.
- Rental Allowance Option – Manager receives payment after a certain number of hours worked
For employees who work for employers with at least 26 employees, the maximum allowance allowed by law is $790.67 for one person and $1,169.59 for two people who work as co-managers. Hours worked where payment exceeds the credit allowed is paid as a check to the employee(s).
Example: Manager (living alone) receives a 2-bedroom apartment. The maximum lodging allowance is $790.67/$14.00 = 56.48 hours per month. If the manager works more than 56.48 hours per month, he or she must be paid at least minimum wage for those extra hours.
- The Check Exchange Option – Mangers receive discounted rent and payment for hours worked
A manager may be charged up to 2/3rd of the market rent of the apartment. The manager pays his or her rent and receives payment for each hour worked.
Example: Manager receives a 3-bedroom apartment with a market rent of $1800/month; 2/3 of the market rent is $1200.00, which is the Manager’s monthly rental payment. The manager works 30 hours per week and is paid at least minimum wage for each hour he or she works.
Each of these exceptions must be acknowledged in a legally binding employment contract that includes specific terms and agreements and is signed by both the residential apartment manager and the complex’s owner or management company.
If you have questions about the rent you have been charged or how you have been paid as a residential apartment manager, our law office can help. The Leichter Law Firm, APC understands the employment laws regarding on-site apartment managers and can help current and former residential apartment managers receive full compensation for the unlawful and unfair pay practices of their employers. Find out more by calling 818-915-6624 and speaking with the lawyer at the Leichter Law Firm, APC.
Are Residential Apartment Managers Entitled to Overtime Pay in California?
Although there are several ways rent can be included in the compensation of employees serving as residential property managers, employers must at least pay minimum wages to residential apartment managers, even when these wages are being applied to the rental allowance.
In addition to the minimum wage, resident apartment managers should also receive:
- Payment for hours worked that can be applied to rent owed as a rental credit
- Payment at least twice per month when pay earned exceeds the rental credit
- Payment for all hours worked
- Overtime pay for working more than 8 hours in a single day
- Overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a single a week
- Overtime pay for working seven consecutive days during a single workweek
If you have questions about the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements in California, contact the skilled Los Angeles residential apartment manager attorney at Leichter Law Firm, APC today to schedule a free consultation.
Are California Residential Apartment Managers Entitled to Compensation for On-Call Hours?
A California apartment owner or management company is only required to pay residential apartment managers for the time they have spent conducting assigned duties or for the time the manager is working when present at the apartment complex.
Simply stated, waiting for a repair person to arrive and work on a unit is not compensable. Overseeing the repair person during their duties is compensable.
What are Employers’ Responsibilities to Residential Apartment Managers in California?
California wage and hour regulations contain numerous record-keeping requirements for employers.
Each of which requires employers to keep accurate records, including the number of hours worked, rate of pay for each hour, and total wages owed to their employees including residential apartment managers in California.
When California apartment owners and/or management companies do not keep accurate records or pay the proper wages owed to onsite managers, they may be liable for liquidated damages in an amount equal to double the unpaid wages.
Numerous other penalties may apply to unpaid wages, including not compensating employees for personal cellphone use or sick leave.
How Can California Apartment Managers Help Strengthen Their Cases?
All residential apartment managers should keep accurate daily records of their hours worked and duties performed, to counter inaccurate or inadequate employer records.
The more evidence apartment managers have to show the hours worked and duties performed, the more likely it is to recover financial compensation under California’s minimum wage and overtime laws.
However, the apartment owner or management company must have accurate evidence — or the burden of proof — that the employee’s records are inaccurate.
The Los Angeles residential apartment complex attorney at the Leichter Law Firm, APC can help build your case for success inside or outside the courtroom, starting with a free consultation.
Questions about Your Rent and Compensation? Contact a Los Angeles Lawyers
Get a better understanding of your situation by speaking with an employment lawyer who is familiar with compensation laws for residential apartment managers. If you’ve been incorrectly paid for your hours worked or have been paying more for rent than the law requires, you can file a claim and recover monetary compensation. Call the Leichter Law Firm, APC at 818-915-6624 or email us today for a confidential consultation.
Contact the Los Angeles Wage and Hour Attorney at the Leichter Law Firm Today
If you believe that your employer has committed violations of the wage and hour laws, you don’t have to file an EEOC claim as you would in a typical discrimination case. Instead, you can hire private lawyers and file a suit as soon as you discover the violation. If other people at your company have also been denied overtime, meals, or breaks, you may be able to file a special type of FLSA class action lawsuit or class action under the California Labor Code.