As statewide protections end, California renters demand more rights

ANTIOCH — With the state’s last remaining COVID-eviction protections set to expire next week, dozens of renters rallied Wednesday demanding protection against steep rent hikes, landlord harassment and poor living conditions.

Waving signs that read “Housing is a human right” and “The rent is too damn high,” residents complained of roach and mold-infested apartments, sewage flooding their bathrooms and out-of-the-blue rent hikes of hundreds of dollars.

Many of the complaints centered on Delta Pines — a low-income apartment complex in Antioch with nearly 200 units. But the issues extend throughout Antioch and the entire Bay Area, tenants’ rights organizers say. A survey of 1,000 Antioch renters released this month found that respondents spend, on average, 63% of their income on rent — making it difficult to pay for food, medicine, childcare and other expenses.

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