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  • Writer's pictureSasha Struthers

The Basics of Resident Managers in California Apartments

Updated: Jan 5, 2023


  • 16 or more unit apartment needs a resident manager.

  • Resident manager is an employee of the apartment owner.

  • Resident manager must be compensated for their services, usually in the form of rent reduction.

  • Resident manager and landlord must have a signed voluntary, written resident manager agreement.

  • Resident manager may be terminated and replaced by the landlord, unless the reason is discriminatory or retaliatory.

  • All proper notices must be served on resident manager when terminating and subsequently trying to evict them to house new resident manager.

  • The resident manager must keep time records and submit them to the landlord. Landlords should be pay attention and make sure the resident manager is not working unapproved overtime.

Under California Code of Regulations Title 25 section 42 apartment buildings with 16 or more units must have an on-site resident manager. This person usually lives in the apartment building in one of the units. Under California's employment laws, a resident manager is an employee who must be compensated for their services as a resident manager. Resident managers are usually compensated in the form of rent reduction. The Industrial Wage Order No. 5 governs the amount a landlord can deduct from the rent. This amount is changed whenever the minimum wage in California is changed. Keep in mind, the resident manager should not be working in excess of the minimum wage that is being credited for rent reduction. This can get tricky and get a landlord into a wage and hour lawsuit.

Additionally, a landlord is supposed to have a voluntary, written resident manager agreement in place for each resident manager, signed by the landlord and the employee. The resident manager agreement should be reviewed by an attorney and updated to account for the rent reduction and rent increases.

California is an "At-Will" employment state, you can read my blog here to learn more about what that means. In general, an employer can fire an employee at any time unless in violation of a written agreement or if for an unlawful purpose, such as for a discriminatory (based on a protected class ie. race, sex, religion, disability, or national origin) or retaliatory (ie. resident manager complained about their rights to landlord, staff or government agency) purpose.

Under California housing laws and most rent control laws, a resident manager can be terminated from their position and potentially evicted if the landlord needs their unit to house the replacement resident manager. Again, you will want to consult with attorney before terminating a resident manager, replacing the resident manager and/or evicting the resident manager.

Cautionary Tale

I see this all too often. Resident Managers are hired by landlords and subsequently asked to do handyman work. The problem with this set up is that it is often outside the scope of the resident manager duties and requires the resident manager to work far more hours than is offset by the rent reduction. If the landlord wants to engage the resident manager as a handyman this needs to be addressed carefully as the "handyman" is still very likely an employee of the landlord under AB 5.

Resident managers asked to do handyman work and not being compensated properly have a wage and hour claim against their landlord for minimum wages, overtime, meal and rest break premiums, itemized wage statements and sick leave.

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The information in this post is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this post should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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