In California, Is An Apartment Manager An Employee Or An Independent Contractor?
California law requires an apartment landlord who operates 16 or more units to have an onsite caretaker. Most apartment landlords require the caretaker to live on premises as a condition of their employment. The requirement that the caretaker live on the premises as a condition of employment is significant, as it restricts the caretaker’s freedom in their off hours and requires that the caretaker accept the landlord’s provisional lodging. A caretaker, by definition, does not have a separately established business. It’s not an occupation where they would provide their own tools or instruments to do their work. Rather, they use the premises and the authority that’s given to them by the landlord to perform their work.
Most of the work is done on site, thus the caretaker is presumed to be an employee. The general presumption is that people are employees, rather than independent contractors, and that the person who is suggesting that they’re an independent contractor has the burden of proof on that topic. If they were an independent contractor, the employer could simply pay them a flat fee or some other mode of compensation besides a wage. Also, an independent contractor is typically not entitled to the protections of the workers’ compensation system.
An employee, as compared to an independent contractor, will receive a wage statement. They’ll receive a minimum wage, a paystub that reflects deductions for taxes and the employer’s contribution of their portion of social security payments. If they’re terminated for cause, they are entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.
What Are Compensation Options For Onsite Residential Apartment Managers In California?
Onsite residential apartment managers are employees, so they’re entitled to a minimum wage. There is a statute that allows an employer to make credits against the wage, so long as they are receiving minimum wage for the time that they’re working. Because there is no exemption to pay salary, the pay must be hourly. The wage order allows, where there’s a voluntary written agreement, that the landlord may deduct a certain portion of the wages from the money owed and there’s a limit on that. Under labor code, there’s no right to offset services or goods against what other employees are owed. However, there is an exception to that when it comes to onsite caretakers. The landlord has to accord the same rights to an employee, if they’re giving the services of providing a place to stay, as any other tenant would be expected to have.
If we look to the civil code that governs tenancies, a landlord cannot charge for the use of shared space. In order for the landlord to properly offset the amount of the value of the premises against the wages that are owed, the resident apartment manager must have exclusive use of the premises. They must have their own space, essentially. The landlord must allow the resident apartment manager their own space that will not be invaded. The wage order limits the amount to lesser than two thirds or $677 per month. The landlord can’t charge, even if they satisfy all of the other requirements of exclusive use of the premises and the person’s own private space, more than that amount. There has to be a voluntary written agreement. They can’t claim it and just have an agreement, verbally. They have to demonstrate that it was voluntary and the premises have to be clean and safe, just as any other landlord would be expected to provide their tenants.
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