TenantsTips / USA / Tenants’ Rights when using Prepaid Rental Listing Services in California USA

Tenants’ Rights when using Prepaid Rental Listing Services in California USA

Businesses selling lists of rental units that are available for rent in California must be licensed.

Such prepaid rental listing services are regulated by the dRE (California Department of Real Estate) and before you consider using them you are well advised to visit www.dre.ca.gov to check out the status of its license.

Prepaid Rental Listing Services Contract

Before accepting any money from you a prepaid rental listing services business must provide you with a contract detailing the services it will undertake for you together with an accurate description of rental units that match your criteria such as the maximum rent that you are willing to pay, the number of rooms your require, whether you have pets and any other specifics you have given them to search for your ideal rented home.

Prior to signing a legally binding contract with a prepaid rental listing service or parting with any money for a list of rental units, make sure that the list is up to date and that all units listed are currently available.

Having checked out the status of its licence, studied the small print and ensured that the term of the contract does not exceed 90 days you will be in a position to sign.

Legal Obligations of Prepaid Rental Listing Services

Within 5 days of signing the contract the prepaid rental listing service is legally obligated to provide you with a minimum of 3 rental units that match your criteria and are currently available. If the list you receive from them does not conform you are entitled to a refund of the fee that you paid when you signed the contract.

Getting a refund

To get the refund you must make a claim for it in writing to the prepaid rental listing services business within 15 days of the signature date on the contract. You can deliver your refund demand in person or by registered or certified mail. Clearly, you won’t be refunded if you have rented a unit that was contained on the list they provided you with.

If you are not successful in finding a rental home on the list that you purchased, but find a private rental, the prepaid rental listing service can only retain a fee of $50 from the total amount that you paid them. Although they are obliged to refund the balance of the fee you have an obligation to request such balance within 10 days of the contract ending.

Proof will be required that the private rental you found was in no way connected to the prepaid rental listing services business but if you are not able to provide documentary proof of this, you can complete a form that will be provided by the service attesting to this fact.

Again, you can request the balance of the fee you paid in person or by mail which should be registered or certified with a request for a return receipt. The address of the listing services business will be clearly displayed in your contract with them.



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