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San Pablo: Tenants successfully fight off no-fault evictions, preserve affordable housing

Anita Mendoza and her neighbors at the Porto Apartments in San Pablo can finally relax a little: Their landlord recently abandoned the eviction notices he taped to tenants’ doors late last year.

Mobile Homeowners at Risk of Eviction Petition Imperial Beach for Help

When Rachel Orozco moved to the Miramar Imperial Beach Mobile Home and RV Park more than a year ago, she considered herself lucky. Her family lived nearby and the rent was cheap.  

The nearly five-acre piece of land, a mere half-mile from the Pacific Ocean, is home to about 100 people, most of whom live in mobile homes. It wasn’t much — a plot of dirt and some concrete — but Orozco, 32, was proud of it. She’d carved out a little space for her and her nine-year-old son.  

The park is one of the last affordable housing options for seniors, vets and other low-income folks in the area but it’s also increasingly difficult to hold onto because of an onerous policy. 

Amid housing crisis, California cities look to target vacant homes with taxes

BERKELEY, Calif. (CN) — The city of Berkeley joins a growing list of California cities planning to ask voters whether property owners with vacant homes should be taxed to relieve unprecedented pressure on the housing market.

San Francisco, Napa, Santa Cruz and other cities all rank high in desirability and median rent rates, and are moving forward with vacancy tax measures to address a worsening housing availability crisis. Voters this November will weigh claims the strategy will free up revenue to create more affordable housing and push more units onto the strained market amid widespread home bidding wars. 

Woman alleges harassment from landlord, claims he removed her toilet

A woman who was evicted from her home alleges her landlord harassed her and removed her toilet.

Ana Elsa Hernandez, 72, has lived in her rented garage for seven years. The unit was previously cited as substandard by the LA City Housing Department.

New tenant self-check tool helps report rental issues directly to Sacramento code enforcement

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action launched a new tool Thursday designed to help tenants report problems with their rental units directly to Sacramento code enforcement. Organizers developed the online portal, they said, using the same checklist code enforcement officers and landlords use when inspecting units.

The tool allows renters to submit their contact information, responses to questions about a variety of characteristics of the property — from electricity, to water, to pests — and upload pictures of the unit. Those responses are then sent to the city and to ACCE Action, organizers said.

New tool helps California tenants report issues with their rental units

SACRAMENTO - The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment developed the online tenant tool to help tenants document repair requests.

Oaklanders win longest rent strike in city history, push landlord to sell property to nonprofit

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — After a six-year battle and nearly two and a half years without paying rent, tenants of a 14-unit apartment building in Oakland have claimed victory over their landlord. Instead of tenants being evicted, their landlord is no longer involved.

Los Angeles Could Make Changes to COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles renters who have been relying on the city’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium for the last two years could see changes, with several city councilors signaling an intent July 27 to discuss refining or possibly ending the moratorium.

East Bay council promises to move ahead with rent stabilization

Antioch took a step this week toward helping tenants facing large rent hikes by agreeing to craft rules to stabilize rents and add other protections.

Though no action was taken at a special meeting this week, council members directed staff to draft a rent stabilization ordinance — capping yearly rent increases — and bring it back for a vote next month.

How bad is California's housing crisis for renters?

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” CalMatters’ Manuela Tobias and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon talk to a tenant and landlord about evictions and rent relief more than two years into the pandemic and after billions in spending.

‘Loophole' in 10% Rent Cap Law; Some Landlords Hike Rent 30%

There’s a surprising gap in California‘s rent cap law that renters everywhere need to know about.

When California lawmakers passed the state rent increase cap, AB 1482, in 2019, they called it “statewide.” But “statewide” does not mean it applies to every apartment or renter. Some tenants are finding out the hard way: with a shocking letter from their landlord.

The big rent increase across California next month

Already, tenants across California might have gotten a notice posted to their doors promising a big rent increase come Aug. 1. And there will be something familiar to blame: inflation.

Landlords will be allowed to boost the rent on millions of apartments statewide by as much as 10% starting next month. It’s the maximum allowable annual increase under a state law passed a few years ago that was designed to protect tenants from being pushed out of their homes due to exorbitant rent hikes.

How the fight over a City Council seat is tearing apart Black Los Angeles

As a community advocate, Joe Delgado has learned to expect dysfunction from the city of Los Angeles.

For months, he and others with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment have been trying to get help for hundreds of Black and Latino tenants living in slum-like conditions at the Chesapeake Apartments, a sprawling complex in the heart of the L.A. City Council’s 10th District.

“They’ve identified potentially 160 units that have lead exposure where kids are living,” Delgado told me. “And there has not been any action taken to come and do blood testing to make sure these kids don’t have permanent brain damage.”

California is clawing back some COVID-19 rent relief it gave to tenants and landlords

California is demanding that thousands of tenants and landlords who were approved for emergency rental assistance during the pandemic return the money — often months after it has been spent — sometimes for vague or unspecified reasons.

California pide a inquilinos y propietarios que devuelvan la asistencia para la renta

California está exigiendo que miles de inquilinos y propietarios a los que se les aprobó una asistencia de emergencia para la renta durante la pandemia devuelvan el dinero —a menudo meses después de haberlo gastado—, a veces por razones vagas o no especificadas.

A New Online Tool Helps California Tenants Respond to Eviction Notices

In April, Juan Carlos Cruz Mora received an eviction notice from his landlord that alleged he caused property damage and dirty, unsafe living conditions in the Sacramento suburb duplex he had called home for the last 10 years. He had only five days to file a response in court.

Mora, who blamed his landlord for those issues, tried to file an answer with the court himself but feared a mistake could land him, his wife, and his two young children on the street. He said he paid a lawyer $1,000 to help.

“With one word I could lose the case,” he said in Spanish.

Got an eviction notice? This California website will help you file a response.

In April, Juan Carlos Cruz Mora received an eviction notice from his landlord that alleged he caused property damage and dirty, unsafe living conditions in the Sacramento suburb duplex he had called home for the last 10 years. He had only five days to file a response in court.

Mora, who blamed his landlord for those issues, tried to file an answer with the court himself but feared a mistake could land him, his wife, and his two young children on the street. He said he paid a lawyer $1,000 to help.

“With one word I could lose the case,” he said in Spanish.

What rights do tenants have against illegal eviction in California?

California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued recent legal guidance in response to a rise in illegal eviction lockouts along with a call for law enforcement to intervene.

Nearly 1.5 million renters in California are at risk of eviction. In San Diego County, the Legal Aid Society said it is seeing a surge of people who have been evicted by their landlords illegally.

Sacramento renter reported code violations to city. Now she’s facing eviction

About six weeks after a Sacramento woman called the city to report code violations at her rental home, she came home to find a letter taped to her door.

Yanika Gilbert, 39, and her nephew, 15, had just three days to get out of the south Sacramento house or the landlord would file eviction paperwork at the courthouse, the letter said. With nowhere to go, the pair did not leave.

The eviction is now underway. If they have to go, Gilbert said she will not only become homeless, but also could lose custody of her nephew Dimitris Gilbert, who’s been in her care for the last decade.

California AG puts law enforcement on notice over illegal evictions

Citing “numerous” reports of illegal evictions throughout the state, California Attorney Rob Bonta on Wednesday took steps to make sure law enforcement officers are working to prevent tenants from losing their homes without a valid court order.

Illegal or “self-help” evictions take many forms, including a landlord changing the locks on someone’s home without authorization, shutting off the water or electricity in an attempt to force a tenant out, or removing a renter’s personal property, Bonta said during a virtual media briefing. In an effort to stop those breaches of law, Bonta issued legal guidance that lays out a law enforcement officer’s responsibility to intervene.

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.

Judge orders California to stop denying rent relief applications

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.

Court orders California to pause denying pandemic rent aid

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.

Richmond tenants are pushing back against rent hikes, alleging poor living conditions

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.

‘A fighting chance.’ California can’t deny rent relief after tenants sued state over program

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.