A “free” apartment may not be used as a credit against the minimum wage requirement without a voluntarily entered into written agreement which provides for that credit.
The part of Order #5 which creates the most confusion and consternation for apartment owners and property management companies is paragraph #10 of the order, which prohibits taking a credit against the minimum wage obligation due to the resident apartment manager without a voluntary written agreement between the employer and the employee.
This means that if the resident apartment manager is given a “free” apartment in exchange for his or her services, the owner or property management company must still pay the resident apartment manager minimum wage for each and every hour worked on the premises unless there is a written agreement, voluntarily entered into between the resident apartment manager and the owner or property management company, which specifically provides that a credit will be taken against the wages owed for the value of the apartment.
In addition to the fact that the agreement must be voluntarily entered into, we take the position that it must also specifically and clearly state that a credit is being taken against minimum wage owed to the resident apartment manager. If the agreement does not meet these requirements, the owner or property management company will not be permitted to take any credit for providing the “free” apartment, and the resident apartment manager will be entitled to minimum wage for every hour worked.