In the News

Stay Current

Richmond is beefing up protections for renters facing harassment from landlords

East Bay Times - Clara Luz Realageno was at work at the end of May when she received a notification on her phone that there was movement detected by security cameras she had installed just days earlier.

The camera monitor on her phone showed that it was her landlord. He was entering her home and changing the locks, barring her from returning to the studio she had rented for four years.

“I left for work; I had no idea I would be coming back to nothing,” she said through a translator in a recent interview.

Realageno didn’t expect to be locked out of her house that day, but her landlord’s violation wasn’t unprecedented. In fact, his pattern of harassment toward her in recent weeks was what prompted her to buy and install the two security cameras inside her home.

Bay Area city may explore allowing undocumented residents to vote in local elections

San Francisco Chronicle - Richmond officials will soon consider a plan that could allow undocumented residents to vote in local elections, citing their lack of a public voice despite the “significant contributions” they make to the community and its economy.

The City Council is expected to vote this month on a first step: directing the city attorney to conduct a sweeping review of the city’s charter along with legal research to determine whether it can allow noncitizens to participate in local elections, such as school board contests.

Councilmembers Claudia Jimenez and Eduardo Martinez and Vice Mayor Demnlus Johnson III introduced the proposal, which was scheduled for consideration at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday but postponed due to time constraints.

Newsom signs into law extension of California eviction protections, rent relief

LA Times - California tenants will be protected from evictions for another three months, and those with low incomes will have all of their past-due rent paid by the state, under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor acted just hours after both houses of the Legislature approved the bill extending the eviction protections through Sept. 30. Lawmakers cited urgency stemming from the expiration of previous protections that was set for Wednesday.

“California will significantly increase cash assistance to low-income tenants and small landlords under the state’s $5.2 billion rent relief program, making it the largest and most comprehensive COVID rental protection and rent relief program of any state in the nation,” said a statement by Newsom’s office.

California extends eviction moratorium through September. Is it enough to kick-start $5.2 billion in rent relief?

San Francisco Chronicle - California will shield struggling tenants from eviction for at least three more months and attempt to pay off all of the rent lower-income residents missed during the coronavirus pandemic under a deal announced Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers.

The plan, which emerged after weeks of tense negotiations with renter advocates and property owner groups, would extend through the end of September the state’s moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent due to the pandemic.

Lower-income tenants who qualify for a state rental aid program — those who earn 80% or less of the median income in their county and were financially affected by COVID-19 — would be protected from eviction for an additional six months. From October through next March, those residents would receive extra time to apply for rent relief if a property owner attempts to evict them.

Agreement Reached to Extend California Eviction Moratorium to Sept. 30

NBC 4 - Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders from both the state Senate and Assembly agreed Friday on a proposed extension of the statewide eviction moratorium, through Sept. 30.

The eviction moratorium — put in place in March 2020 as an emergency measure related to the COVID-19 pandemic — was set to expire June 30, just five days after the agreement was announced.

Newsom and legislative leaders also agreed on paying 100% of back-rent owed by tenants who struggled to make rent payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, in an increase of relief funding.

As Wall Street looks to conquer what’s left of the rental market, a Sacramento mother of three’s eviction story hits home

A bill largely ignored by the media may be California’s last chance to avoid disaster for tenants

Sacramento News & Review - With California’s long-feared eviction reckoning on the horizon, corporate landlords have already used loopholes to throw tenants onto the streets throughout the COVID crisis, as one Sacramento woman recently learned when she and her three sons were ejected from their apartment after the oldest boy got shot four times while walking on the grounds. The disabled teen barely survived that attack, and an official notice from managers at the complex shows they used the shooting as justification to evict not only him, but his mom and 12-and-9-year-old brothers – smack in the middle of the pandemic.

The family is now homeless.

The complex maintains that it acted appropriately on behalf of other residents.  

Given the extent to which rental companies have already flouted the mission behind California’s current displacement efforts, the question of what those entities will do once the state’s eviction moratorium expires June 30 – and the federal moratorium a month after that – has housing advocates fearing the worst, particularly if Gov. Gavin Newsom is not able to pull off the last-ditch compromise he’s reportedly been working on.


LA City Council adopts ordinance aimed to stop landlords from harassing tenants

FOX 11 - The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday adopted an ordinance aimed at preventing landlords from harassing tenants by eliminating services, withholding repairs, refusing to accept rent payments and more.

The ordinance passed on a 13-0 vote, with two members absent. It will next go to Mayor Eric Garcetti for approval.

"I am pleased that the City Council passed the Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance. This means that for the first time in Los Angeles, city law defines and codifies illegal harassment activities, providing an affirmative defense for tenants in eviction cases when landlords engage in actions constituting harassment while strengthening civil penalties," Councilman Gil Cedillo, who chairs the Housing Committee, said in a statement after the vote.

California has a $5.2bn plan to pay off unpaid rent accrued during the pandemic

The rent forgiveness program would pay landlords all of what they are owed while simultaneously giving tenants a clean slate

The Guardian - California is pursuing an ambitious plan to pay off the entirety of unpaid rent from low-income tenants who fell behind during the pandemic, in what could constitute the largest ever rent relief program in the US.

The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, is negotiating with legislators and said the $5.2bn plan would pay landlords all of what they are owed while giving renters a clean slate.

If successful, the rent forgiveness plan would amount to an extraordinary form of aid in the largest state in the US, which has suffered from a major housing crisis and severe economic inequality long before Covid-19.