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California Civil Code Section 1950.6

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Civil Code > California Civil Code Section 1950.6

1950.6.  (a) Notwithstanding Section 1950.5, when a landlord or his
or her agent receives a request to rent a residential property from
an applicant, the landlord or his or her agent may charge that
applicant an application screening fee to cover the costs of
obtaining information about the applicant. The information requested
and obtained by the landlord or his or her agent may include, but is
not limited to, personal reference checks and consumer credit reports
produced by consumer credit reporting agencies as defined in Section
1785.3. A landlord or his or her agent may, but is not required to,
accept and rely upon a consumer credit report presented by an
applicant.
   (b) The amount of the application screening fee shall not be
greater than the actual out-of-pocket costs of gathering information
concerning the applicant, including, but not limited to, the cost of
using a tenant screening service or a consumer credit reporting
service, and the reasonable value of time spent by the landlord or
his or her agent in obtaining information on the applicant. In no
case shall the amount of the application screening fee charged by the
landlord or his or her agent be greater than thirty dollars ($30)
per applicant. The thirty dollar ($30) application screening fee may
be adjusted annually by the landlord or his or her agent commensurate
with an increase in the Consumer Price Index, beginning on January
1, 1998.
   (c) Unless the applicant agrees in writing, a landlord or his or
her agent may not charge an applicant an application screening fee
when he or she knows or should have known that no rental unit is
available at that time or will be available within a reasonable
period of time.
   (d) The landlord or his or her agent shall provide, personally, or
by mail, the applicant with a receipt for the fee paid by the
applicant, which receipt shall itemize the out-of-pocket expenses and
time spent by the landlord or his or her agent to obtain and process
the information about the applicant.
   (e) If the landlord or his or her agent does not perform a
personal reference check or does not obtain a consumer credit report,
the landlord or his or her agent shall return any amount of the
screening fee that is not used for the purposes authorized by this
section to the applicant.
   (f) If an application screening fee has been paid by the applicant
and if requested by the applicant, the landlord or his or her agent
shall provide a copy of the consumer credit report to the applicant
who is the subject of that report.
   (g) As used in this section, "landlord" means an owner of
residential rental property.
   (h) As used in this section, "application screening fee" means any
nonrefundable payment of money charged by a landlord or his or her
agent to an applicant, the purpose of which is to purchase a consumer
credit report and to validate, review, or otherwise process an
application for the rent or lease of residential rental property.
   (i) As used in this section, "applicant" means any entity or
individual who makes a request to a landlord or his or her agent to
rent a residential housing unit, or an entity or individual who
agrees to act as a guarantor or cosignor on a rental agreement.
   (j) The application screening fee shall not be considered an
"advance fee" as that term is used in Section 10026 of the Business
and Professions Code, and shall not be considered "security" as that
term is used in Section 1950.5.
   (k) This section is not intended to preempt any provisions or
regulations that govern the collection of deposits and fees under
federal or state housing assistance programs.

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Last modified: March 17, 2014