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Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation today barring landlords from requiring their tenants to pay rent online.

Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance proposed the measure, Senate Bill 1055, in response to concerns that demanding online payments can hurt tenants who know little or nothing about using computers.

SB 1055 stemmed from complaints by residents of a 300-unit Los Angeles apartment complex last year that a new policy requiring online rents was a pretense to evict elderly, low-income tenants benefiting from rent-stabilization requirements.

The property management company involved in the dispute denied any plan to evict, claiming that collecting rents online was a way to "go green" and to save paper, according to a legislative analysis of SB 1055.

Landlords can continue to accept online payments under SB 1055, but they cannot demand them.

Lieu applauded Brown's signing today as a "victory for everyone who wants the option of paying rent in ways other than online, such as check or money order."

The new law takes effect Jan. 1.


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