Landlord forcing tenants to pay rent online

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some people in Southeast Austin say their landlords are making it a lot harder to drop off the rent check. In fact, you cannot drop off anything at all. It is all supposed to be online, possibly putting some students and low income tenants living there in a difficult position.

Amanda Phillips has lived at The Ion at East End Apartments for a little more than a year. The best way for her to pay her rent is in person with cash or a personal check, and not online. “I can’t get Internet in my room right now so if I was to do this I’d have to go to the library or something and pay the extra money. If rent’s $400, I’m paying $425.”

Beginning Aug. 1, people living at The Ion at East End Apartments, The Edge at East End and the Zone at East End will have no choice but to pay their rent online using either a credit or debit card. The complexes are filled with mostly students and low income families, meaning not everyone has a credit card or checking account.

The new policy does not allow you to use a personal check, cashier’s check or money order; all very common ways residents pay their rent now.

“I’ll usually pay my rent through the office,” said Samantha Ruiz. “I’ll go to the office and just pay cash because it’s easier.”

Flyers telling tenants about the new rule were placed on peoples doors.

“It’s so limiting,” Ruiz says, “so many people won’t be happy.”

And because of it, Ruiz and Phillips say they may have to find a new place to live.

At the request of the local managers, KXAN reached out to Asset Campus Housing, based in Houston who told us they don’t know where the flyer came from. The company’s vice president says ACH owned properties accept all forms of payment except cash. The company is trying to determine the source of misinformation printed on the flyers.

The tenant’s council in Austin says more and more apartments require tenants to pay online, but you have rights. If this change happens to you and you are in the middle of a lease, the complex cannot force you to change unless you sign a new lease.

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