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Can Landlord do this?
Old 01-16-2016, 04:43 PM   #1
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Can Landlord do this?

A friend of mine rents an apartment in southern California and she told me she had received a letter from her new landlord (it's not a small complex - maybe 50-100 units? I am guessing.) saying she now needs to provide proof of renters insurance with the minimum coverage of $100K in liability and the apartment needs to be listed as an additional party on the policy.

I have never heard of anything like this. It sounds absurd to me but I am not expert. I have a renter's insurance myself - I always have gotten one in case of fire or earthquake or whatever (I used to live in northern CA), I have some extra money to repurchase some things (I think the amount had always been less, probably much less than 100K, but I can't remember exactly how much), but I have always done it on my own accord. I remember that some lease agreements I signed mentioned that I was responsible for my own belongings and I should get a renter's insurance if I wanted to cover any losses of my own possessions, but they never tried to force me to get renter's insurance. The letter my friend received says that she needs to list the apartment as an additional party on the policy (what??) in addition to herself and it clearly states that the minimum coverage of 100K in liability is required. She lives in an unfurnished studio apartment - maybe 400 sqft in size??

My friend didn't get a renter's insurance and she successfully renewed her lease, but I was just curious if the landlord can enforce what he is requesting.
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Old 01-16-2016, 04:50 PM   #2
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It depends on CA law of course but I've never heard of it, especially the part about making the landlord being an additional beneficiary of the policy. I'd check with whatever agency there regulates apartments and ask, or even call an attorney. This seems highly suspicious though.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:06 PM   #3
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At least, two and I think all three of the property managers I've used have required tenants to buy renters insurance as a condition of the lease. I don't believe they have asked for physical proof of the insurance, but it probably isn't a bad idea.

I pushed back on the previous PM that it would limit my pool of renters, but it is only about $12/month, and when it comes to lawsuits, it is always good to have somebody around with deeper pockets than yourself.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:09 PM   #4
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I've never heard of this. I researched CA rental laws when we got our current tenants, 18 months ago. We also had a lawyer prepare docs for us (new lease/etc.) No mention of anything like this.

We have a landlord policy that covers the structure and our liability. We advised the tenant that it's recommended to get insurance to cover their belongings and liability. Our lease reflects this advice.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:14 PM   #5
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My granddaughter rents an apartment in student housing in Tempe AZ. Her lease agreement states she must provide $100K in renter's insurance payable to her apartment complex. I had never heard of it either, but it was a requirement to live there.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:21 PM   #6
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I was wrong. The landlord can require it as part of their lease. They can't require it mid-lease... but at renewal time, it can be required.

Can a landlord require renters' insurance? | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:26 PM   #7
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My granddaughter rents an apartment in student housing in Tempe AZ. Her lease agreement states she must provide $100K in renter's insurance payable to her apartment complex.
Wow, I would develop a severe attitude problem with that. Why on earth would they expect ME to pay for insurance payable to THEM?
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:47 PM   #8
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I was wrong. The landlord can require it as part of their lease. They can't require it mid-lease... but at renewal time, it can be required.
+1. It cannot be mid-lease.

I know a lot of landlords that require it. It saves putting a claim against the landlords insurance, or adds another layer in front of it.

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Wow, I would develop a severe attitude problem with that. Why on earth would they expect ME to pay for insurance payable to THEM?
If a tenant has a kitchen fire, it would at least cover the landlords deductible. Or a tenant has a party and someone gets drunk and has an accident, it may come into play as well.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:49 PM   #9
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I pushed back on the previous PM that it would limit my pool of renters, but it is only about $12/month, and when it comes to lawsuits, it is always good to have somebody around with deeper pockets than yourself.
It only reduces the trash, quality tenants have it as an addition to their auto policy.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:50 PM   #10
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If a tenant has a kitchen fire, it would at least cover the landlords deductible. Or a tenant has a party and someone gets drunk and has an accident, it may come into play as well.
I thought of that, but that's part of their cost of doing business, not mine. I'd keep shopping for an apartment.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:59 PM   #11
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Where we live (Texas) we also have to provide proof of renters insurance each time we renew, but the apartment complex does not have to be listed on the policy, just proof of liability up to $100,000.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:05 PM   #12
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I'm okay with having to have rental insurance but would be moving on if the apartment owners had to be listed on the policy. Having their own insurance is their responsibility in my book.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:21 PM   #13
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Thank you very much for all your posts. It sounds like it is completely legal to request a renter's insurance. I am sure my friend would have been OK with it if that was part of the lease from the get-go, but it looks like it is legal to ask this anyway at the renewal time. She has lived there for over 15 years under a different owner, and now this. As some of you said, I agree that adding the apartment on the policy is totally uncalled for. My friend is quite unhappy about the whole thing and she is considering moving.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:28 PM   #14
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Seems like your friend has two choices. If her lease does not require renters insurance she could ignore them... they can't kick her out unless her lease requires renters insurance as long as she is in compliance with the other lease terms but they could chose not to renew her lease when it expires. If she was planning on not renewing then no big deal. But if she want to renew she might be better off to just comply.

That said, the new landlord has no basis for saying she needs to provide it if it isn't required by the lease.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:50 PM   #15
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Well, she actually got her lease renewed without any issues this time although she never got a renter's insurance (Like you said, she just ignored it and they let her sign the lease) but then she received a reminder letter to get a renter's insurance. Since she could renew without the renter's insurance, I thought maybe the landlord wants renter's insurance but couldn't enforce it legally (that was just my speculation) and that's why I asked the question here.

Maybe the landlord is trying to be nice, or maybe there are a whole lot of other tenants who are ignoring the landlord's request, I don't know. My friend had her daughter stay with her for a couple of months between jobs, and the landlord said her daughter had to fill out a renter's application and pay the credit check fee. That didn't settle well with my friend either - Her point was, her daughter was a temporary occupant - Her other point is, she is the one who signed the lease and is solely responsible for the apartment, so why does her daughter's credit score even matter? Her daughter is no longer staying with her, but that just didn't settle well with her at all. She wants her old landlord back - The new landlord has so many new rules.
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:51 PM   #16
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It only reduces the trash, quality tenants have it as an addition to their auto policy.
Um, no
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Old 01-16-2016, 07:32 PM   #17
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I thought of that, but that's part of their cost of doing business, not mine. I'd keep shopping for an apartment.
Actually, the landlord's deductible would come out of the damage deposit, and potentially a court Judgment.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:11 PM   #18
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Well, she actually got her lease renewed without any issues this time although she never got a renter's insurance (Like you said, she just ignored it and they let her sign the lease) but then she received a reminder letter to get a renter's insurance. Since she could renew without the renter's insurance, I thought maybe the landlord wants renter's insurance but couldn't enforce it legally (that was just my speculation) and that's why I asked the question here.

Maybe the landlord is trying to be nice, or maybe there are a whole lot of other tenants who are ignoring the landlord's request, I don't know. My friend had her daughter stay with her for a couple of months between jobs, and the landlord said her daughter had to fill out a renter's application and pay the credit check fee. That didn't settle well with my friend either - Her point was, her daughter was a temporary occupant - Her other point is, she is the one who signed the lease and is solely responsible for the apartment, so why does her daughter's credit score even matter? Her daughter is no longer staying with her, but that just didn't settle well with her at all. She wants her old landlord back - The new landlord has so many new rules.
No. The landlord was absolutely correct to try and get the daughter on the lease. In CA there is a situation where a person not on the lease can be determined to be a "de facto tenant". At that point, your friend could move out - leaving the daughter... if the landlord tried to remove the daughter it would be harder than a normal eviction because there is no lease/contract with the daughter. We were worried about this with our previous tenant.... it's a legit thing to require anyone staying more than a visit be on the lease. A few months definitely falls into the de facto tenant thing.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:20 PM   #19
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My friend had her daughter stay with her for a couple of months between jobs, and the landlord said her daughter had to fill out a renter's application and pay the credit check fee. That didn't settle well with my friend either - Her point was, her daughter was a temporary occupant -

Her other point is, she is the one who signed the lease and is solely responsible for the apartment, so why does her daughter's credit score even matter?

Her daughter is no longer staying with her, but that just didn't settle well with her at all. She wants her old landlord back - The new landlord has so many new rules.
If you stay in one of my places and have a guest over a week, I want a credit and criminal check.

It is a FACT that tenants with low credit scores are more likely to cause issues, including more insurance claims.

Too low a score and I do not want you. I want everyone in the apartment, including your 18 year old kid to have a 625+ credit score. I do allow a non score person sometimes, but they cannot even have a parking ticket on their record. If you have a habit of lying and cheating your creditors, I assume you will do the same to me. If you cannot follow simple rules of society, I assume you cannot follow the lease.

When you rent, you obey the rules. Especially in a multifamily. You do not want your neighbors to bring in trash either.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:31 PM   #20
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No. The landlord was absolutely correct to try and get the daughter on the lease. In CA there is a situation where a person not on the lease can be determined to be a "de facto tenant". At that point, your friend could move out - leaving the daughter... if the landlord tried to remove the daughter it would be harder than a normal eviction because there is no lease/contract with the daughter. We were worried about this with our previous tenant.... it's a legit thing to require anyone staying more than a visit be on the lease. A few months definitely falls into the de facto tenant thing.
Very interesting. Thank you for your post. I will let my friend know since I am sure she was not aware of that. It makes sense to me, and I have a feeling my friend won't mind her daughter filling out the application if she ever comes for a long visit again.
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