When Managers Are Required
Apartment buildings with sixteen or more unit must have a resident manager.
Resident Apartment Managers as Licensees
To have tenant protections, a resident manager must be more than just an employee/licensee. In rent-controlled jurisdictions, managers not considered tenants can be forced to leave when their employment is terminated.
Several factors are looked at to determine if a manager is a tenant or an employee, including (1) whether there was a written lease; (2) whether the manager lived in the unit prior to becoming a manager; and (3) whether the manager paid a security deposit.
Where a resident manager signs a contract that states the occupancy is incidental to employment, a resident manager is not a tenant. Chan v. Antepenko, 203 Cal. App. 3d. Supp. 21 (1988).
At Will Employment
Most resident managers are considered “at-will employees”, meaning landlords can fire them without cause. Even at-will employees, however, cannot be fired for whistle blowing or for a discriminatory reason.
Resident managers who have long-term employment contracts are likely not at-will employees and cannot be terminated.
Minimum Wage for Resident Managers
Resident managers of apartment buildings must be paid minimum wage. In San Francisco, resident managers must be paid at least $10.24 per hour worked. Any employment contract that purports to pay less than the minimum wage is void.
The hourly rate of non-exempt employees is calculated as one-fortieth of the weekly employee salary. Employees who work more than 40 hours per week are entitled to compensation with overtime adjustments.
Rent Free Apartment as Minimum Wage
Most resident managers receive their apartment as part of an overall compensation package. Strict rules govern this practice.
Landlords may only credit up to two-thirds (2/3) of the market rental value of the unit, but not more than $451.89 per month for a single manager and $668.46 per month for a couple (Wage Order 5-2001 10 (c)).
Housing accommodations can only count against the minimum wage requirement if there is a “voluntary written agreement which explicitly references that such credits are being applied to the minimum wage obligation of the employer.” Brock v. Carrion, Ltd., 332 F. Supp. 2d 1320 (2004).