California can’t deny pending applications for rent relief while its denials are under review, judge says
Since last spring, California has passed along federal aid to hundreds of thousands of low-income renters who faced debt and possible eviction because of the pandemic. But the state has also denied funds to nearly one-third of the applicants, sometimes with little explanation, and a judge says he will prohibit housing officials from denying any more rental-assistance applications while the legality of their actions is under review.
Although it’s not clear whether the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development has improperly rejected applications to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or failed to adequately explain its rejections, the hardships of any wrongdoing fall entirely on the renters rather than the state, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch said at a hearing Thursday.
OAKLAND, Calif. - A judge has ruled the California Department of Housing and Community Development must stop denying applications for COVID-19 rent relief money, amid a lawsuit filed by tenants’ advocates, who argue the state has unfairly withheld money from low-income renters.
Tenant advocate groups sued the state alleging it wrongly denied tens of thousands of applications, failed to provide adequate reason or explanation for denials, and did not provide a proper appeals process.
An Alameda County judge has ordered the state housing department to pause denying applications for pandemic rental assistance after tenant advocates filed a lawsuit alleging officials have unfairly withheld aid from struggling renters.
Advocates contend the state’s $5.2 billion emergency rental aid program has failed to give tenants enough opportunity to appeal denials and has discriminated against some Latino and Asian renters by providing application information only in English.
When Irene Maldonado became pregnant with her second child four years ago, she and her husband realized they could not continue living in San Francisco if they wanted to provide a home big enough for their growing family.
They eventually moved into the Bissell Avenue Apartments in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood. But while the two-bedroom apartment’s $2,000 rent was more manageable, Maldonado, who works as an enrollment specialist for social services, questions whether living in the complex is worth even that much, complaining of allegedly faulty plumbing, dirty red carpet lining the outside stairs, crumbling kitchen and bathroom cabinets, deteriorating balcony supports and an unresponsive maintenance staff.
California cannot reject tenants’ applications for COVID-19 emergency rental assistance after a renter lawsuit raised questions about whether the state program meets constitutional standards.
An Alameda County Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) can’t deny pending applications for rent relief “until the court can determine if HCD’s process meets constitutional due process standards,” according to a Western Center on Law and Poverty news release.
California tried to protect tenants during COVID. Nearly 36,000 households — and counting — still faced eviction
California’s recently expired pandemic eviction ban didn’t prevent nearly 36,000 households from being hit with eviction lawsuits last year.
The data comes from the most recent annual report by the Judicial Branch of California and underscores the limits of state efforts to mute the pandemic’s effects on financially vulnerable residents. Renter advocates fear it’s also a preview of evictions to come after two years of upheaval in one of the country’s most expensive places to live.
Antioch - About 65 advocates rallied recently to demand safe and affordable housing and an immediate stop to what they called ‘exorbitant’ rent increases.
Low-income tenants at Delta Pines Apartments and Casa Blanca Apartments, two government-subsidized affordable housing buildings, are facing potential displacement after their corporate landlord recently raised monthly rents by as much as $500.
El programa de protección contra el desalojo de California, calificado como incompleto y defectuoso, venció este viernes primero de julio.
Ante esto, activistas señalan que debido a que el programa de alivio de alquiler vencido no puede proporcionar fondos para cubrir el alquiler atrasado desde marzo, al menos un millón de inquilinos de California enfrentan un futuro profundamente incierto y el potencial de desalojo y falta de vivienda.
Following weeks of inspections, Los Angeles County officials have identified numerous health hazards in a sprawling South L.A. apartment complex owned by mega-landlord Mike Nijjar.
Tenants at the Chesapeake Apartments have long complained about pests, mold and sewage leaking into their homes. Now, the county’s Department of Public Health (DPH) has substantiated their complaints.
Eviction protections end in California, leaving tenants and housing advocates hopeful for relief extension
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eviction relief protections in California have officially come to an end. However, thousands of residents who are behind on their rent along with housing advocates say that date needs to be extended.
Rodney Davis is a Sacramento resident facing a possible eviction.
"You're talking about stress, it's been very stressful," Davis said. "I'm still sort of in a dilemma and don't really have very much money saved up."
Un día de abril, Lenora Jackson volvió a casa de su empleo como trabajadora del Estado en South Oak Park y se encontró con el administrador de la propiedad en la puerta de su casa, pidiéndole las llaves.
Estaba tratando de desalojarla por una infestación de chinches. Temía que perder su casa, la cual rentaba desde 2017, la obligara a quedarse sin hogar y a vivir en su camioneta.
“Da miedo porque tengo muchos problemas médicos”, dijo Jackson, de 55 años. “No tendría a dónde ir”.
SACRAMENTO — A limited three-month extension to California’s eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire on Thursday at midnight, despite opposition from tenant advocates who say the state still hasn’t done enough to keep renters housed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawmakers in March moved the eviction moratorium’s expiration date from April 1 to July 1 for California tenants who’d applied for the state’s rent relief program by the end of March. That extension also afforded the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development more time to work through a backlog of applications and disburse payments to thousands of renters who still hadn’t received aid.
SAN DIEGO — Tens of thousands of California families unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19 could soon be facing eviction.
On Friday morning, the legal protections these renters have, essentially shielding them from eviction proceedings, will officially expire.
In the meantime, thousands of these Californians are still waiting on millions of dollars in rental relief promised by the state.
Those statewide eviction protections put in place for renters impacted by the pandemic are set to expire Friday morning, even though more than 80,000 households who applied for emergency assistance are still waiting for an answer on their applications.
"I just feel the state has failed us: they have failed us," said Imperial Beach resident, Patricia Mendoza, who is still waiting for $9,000 in rental assistance from the state.
Lenora Jackson came home in South Oak Park from her job as a state worker one day in April to find her property manager standing outside her house, asking for her keys.
He was trying to evict her because of a bed bug infestation. She feared that losing her home, where she has rented since 2017, would force her into homelessness and to live in her pick-up truck.
“It’s scary because I have a lot of medical problems,” said Jackson, 55. “I would have nowhere to go.”
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Rent relief eviction protections in California are set to expire.
But, more than 85,000 renters are still waiting for their rental assistance applications to be reviewed.
Community-based organizations, including the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, are taking action to protect tenants.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, renters shared their experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Several speakers said they are still waiting on rent relief from California's Emergency Rental Assistance Program and now face eviction.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California rent relief eviction protections expire at the end of June, potentially negatively affecting the tens of thousands who are still waiting on a response or money from the state’s COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.
Dozens of tenants tell KTVU they fear losing their home, despite applying, meeting income eligibility, submitting necessary documents, and waiting months for approval of relief payments from the state.
"I’m pretty sure I’m going to be out on the streets," Los Angeles renter Mario Martinez said. "The landlord has been more than patient and working with me through all of this and I just keep telling him to hold on, it’s coming."
Pese a que miles de inquilinos aún están a la espera de una respuesta a su solicitud de alivio para pagar sus rentas atrasadas, el 30 de junio terminarán las protecciones contra los desalojos de familias que han aplicado para el programa de asistencia de alquiler de emergencia de California (ERAP).
Es por eso que a dos días de que se venza la fecha límite de las protecciones que evitan los desalojos, hicieron un llamado urgente a los líderes electos del estado para que aprueben protecciones permanentes que frenen la creciente crisis de vivienda que impacta a las comunidades de color y a los trabajadores pobres.
Eviction protections that California lawmakers put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, and extended several times since then, are about to expire.
On Tuesday, a group of community-based organizations held a Zoom news conference meant to highlight what they said will be a catastrophe for tens of thousands of people in just a few days.
More than $3.5 billion in rent relief payments have gone out since the protections began. But barring any last-minute action from the state (the protection goes away on July 1) leaves people like Imperial Beach resident Patricia Mendoza in a slow building state of panic.
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.
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) — Wednesday, dozens of RV tenants in Imperial Beach rallied against what they say are unfair rent increases and evictions from their new landlord at the Siesta RV Park.
Some of the tenants are part of the San Diego Chapter of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).
In front of the RV Park, people chanted phrases like "Yes, we can" in Spanish and "Fight, fight, fight. Housing is a human right." Some held a large banner that read "STOP ALL EVICTIONS."
One by one, tenants spoke about their experience living at the RV park. "As a senior and a disabled veteran, I should not have to be worrying about not being able to afford my rent," one man said.
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — Tenants of the Siesta RV Park in Imperial Beach held a rally on June 22 calling for an end to a rule that forces them to move out of the park every six months for 2 days at a time.
Many of the tenants are also members of the San Diego chapter of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
“We're tired of people playing with our lives. They don't see us as human beings with a right to have a home, they just see us like a dollar sign,” said Consuela Villalpando.
In January of this year, the RV park was sold to Miramar Imperial Beach LLC. Tenants say since then, their rent has increased and they’ve also been hit with new fees on water, sewage, and trash. They said they’re also forced to move their RVs off the property every six months for 48 hours.
Antioch, CA – Advocates held a rally on June 22, 2022, to demand safe and affordable housing and an immediate stop to exorbitant rent increases. Low-income tenants at Delta Pines Apartments and Casa Blanca Apartments, two government-subsidized affordable housing buildings, are facing potential displacement after their corporate landlord recently raised monthly rents by as much as $500.
Before the rally, participants gathered in the Lowe’s parking lot at nearby 1951 Auto Center Drive where they marched to Delta Pines Apartments while holding signs and chanting.
Residents of Delta Pines and Case Blanca aren’t alone in facing sudden rent increases. A new survey of Antioch residents released today finds rent hikes and housing instability are widespread across the city. Seventy-nine percent of renters report feeling worried about rent increases, while 68 percent worried about being able to pay their current rent.
Antioch – Advocates will hold a rally on at noon on Wednesday, June 22, at Delta Pines Apartments, 2301 Sycamore Drive, to demand safe and affordable housing and an immediate stop to what critics call 'exorbitant' rent increases Low-income tenants at Delta Pines Apartments and Casa Blanca Apartments, two government-subsidized affordable housing buildings, are facing potential displacement after their corporate landlord recently raised monthly rents by as much as $500.
Before the rally, an expected up to 50 participants will gather in the Lowe’s parking lot at nearby 1951 Auto Center Drive at 11:45 a.m., then walk to Delta Pines Apartments while holding signs and chanting. Residents of Delta Pines, Casa Blanca, and residents with ECRG will speak about their first-hand experiences with unaffordable rents, fears of eviction, and alleged landlord harassment.
(KRON) – Contra Costa County has seen a 35% increase in homelessness since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s impacting families.
Kamilah Miller, 43, is a resident of Antioch and a working mother of nine. Together she and her husband opened two small businesses a few years ago to support their family. Kamilah Cares is one of their businesses, a child care center. They also had an event-planning business until 2020. Miller even got an associate’s degree in child development, “because I knew that just working a regular job would not be enough to pay rent,” she said.
Four years ago Miller and her four kids were evicted from their home and forced to live in a hotel shortly after her mother passed away, adding an incredible amount of pain to an already suffering family. Miller says the only way they were able to afford the hotel is with the profits from her husband’s event-planning business.
Organizers from the South Central local of the Los Angeles Tenants Union were descending on Exposition Park, their arms full of tablets, laptops and smartphones. It was the evening of April 13, 2021, and as senior and immigrant tenants watched on, the young volunteers connected the park to the internet via a Wi-Fi hotspot. Then the tenants did what they couldn’t do at home: They applied for pandemic rent relief from the state of California.
When low income tenants faced eviction across the state, the primary way to stave it off was through online application to the state’s Emergency Renters Assistance Program (ERAP), which was charged with distributing more than $2.6 billion in rent relief to tenants with additional funds distributed by cities and counties. However, tenant organizers say the program was never going to succeed as it was structured, in large part because applying for relief was only possible with an internet connection and an email address, blocking thousands of the most vulnerable renters in California from paying back their debts.