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New Study from Social Justice Group ACCE-San Diego Finds Stronger Tenant Protections Most Effective in Preventing No Fault Evictions in San Diego County

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New Study from Social Justice Group ACCE-San Diego Finds Stronger Tenant Protections Most Effective in Preventing No Fault Evictions in San Diego County

SAN DIEGO (November 2, 2021) - Eviction moratoriums and strong just cause tenant protections were most effective at decreasing “no fault” evictions and the number of deaths from COVID-19 in San Diego County, according to a new study, Tenant Protections in San Diego County, released today by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment-San Diego (ACCE-San Diego). The study used data contributed by Legal Aid Society of San Diego (LASSD). With the end of California and San Diego County eviction moratoriums in September, it is now more important than ever for cities to pass strong local tenant protections to avoid a new wave of evictions and homelessness, and a rise in new COVID-19 infections.

Tenants in San Diego County must now rely on a patchwork of weak protections depending on whether they live in the city of San Diego or in other cities within the county. When the pandemic began in March 2020, a universal system of eviction laws was created that suspended evictions in San Diego County except in cases of an emergency. The state Judicial Council’s Emergency Rule 1, which restricted most evictions statewide, went into effect from April 2020 to the end of August 2020. Eventually, the state Legislature extended special eviction protections statewide with a series of bills, AB 3088 and AB 832. Included in those protections were a ban on evictions for non-payment of rent. Even during the time state protections were in place, San Diego tenants were still being evicted at high rates. The Board of Supervisors stepped in to pass a countywide eviction ban, which lasted from June to August 2021. AB 832, the state’s eviction moratorium extension expired on Sept. 30. Key findings in the study show:

  • During the time of special eviction protections, unlawful detainer filings in San Diego County dropped 62%
  • Following the expiration of the Judicial Council’s Rule 1, LASSD experienced a 100% increase in tenants seeking assistance
  • During San Diego County’s eviction ban, LASSD saw a 30% decrease in the monthly average of tenants assisted between May 2021 to August 2021
  • Since July 2021, 65% of notices received by LASSD clients have been for no-fault eviction

ACCE-San Diego expects a “significant” increase in the number of no-fault evictions in the coming weeks and months now that the stronger tenant protections are no longer in place. Organizers on the ground report that although landlords cannot evict for non-payment of rent, they are frequently applying for the state’s rent assistance program and still evicting tenants for other reasons. This is only one example of the kinds of loopholes in state law landlords are taking advantage of coupled with ongoing reports by tenants of harassment and retaliation. Tenants in San Diego County need cities to step up and immediately pass strong just cause and anti-harassment laws or we will continue to see more and more San Diegans lose their homes and have their health put at risk. 

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The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action is a grassroots, member-led, statewide community organization working with more than 16,000 members across California. ACCE is dedicated to raising the voices of everyday Californians, neighborhood by neighborhood, to fight for the policies and programs we need to improve our communities and create a brighter future.

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