Five Bills for Renters to Watch in Sacramento this Week

by Dean Preston on May 31, 2011

June 3 is the deadline for bills to pass out of the house in which they were introduced. That means there will be flurry of votes on bills this week. Here are five bills that Tenants Together is closely tracking.

AB 934 (Feuer) – Rolling Back the Court-Created Immunity for Landlords Who Violate Eviction Laws

AB 934, authored by Assemblymember Mike Feuer (D – Los Angeles), amends California’s litigation privilege, Civil Code 47(b), to allow tenants and law enforcement to hold landlords responsible for illegal eviction activity. This bill restores essential tenant protections that existed for decades before the courts improperly extended immunity to landlords for illegal eviction conduct. Click here to send a letter of support for AB 934.

AB 265 (Ammiano) – Saving Tenants From Unfair Eviction for Late Payment of Rent

AB 265, authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D – San Francisco) provides a right to redemption for residential tenants who are being evicted for nonpayment of rent. The bill will ensure that tenants are not evicted from their homes over nonpayment of rent if they can come up with the rent money and specified costs after the expiration of the 3-day pay or quit period. Without this bill,
tenants who are just four days late on rent can be thrown out of their homes even if they are willing to pay all the rent due. Click here to send a letter of support of AB 265.

SB 184 (Leno) – Reestablishing the Ability of Cities to Enforce Inclusionary Housing Laws That Require Affordable Rental Housing

SB 184, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D – San Francisco), makes clear that state law does not prevent cities from enforcing inclusionary housing laws that require developers to include affordable rental housing units as part of new construction. This bill effectively overrules the Palmer decision, a court case that held that a local inclusionary housing law was preempted by state law to the extent it required affordable rentals.

SB 444 (Evans) – Allow Counties to Stop Mobilehome Park Subdivisions Based on Resident Input

Conversions of mobilehome parks threaten the rent control protections of park residents. California’s conversion law has a “resident support survey” requirement to allow park residents to vote to prevent conversions, however some courts have ruled the law is ambiguous and cannot be upheld even when it is demonstrated that almost all of a park’s residents oppose conversion. SB 444, authored by Senator Noreen Evans (D – Santa Rosa) fixes this problem by clarifying that cities have the right to turn down conversions when residents do not support conversion.

SB 337 (Kehoe) – Clarifying that Tenants Can Post Political Signs

SB 337, authored by Senator Christine Kehoe (D – San Diego), provides that a landlord shall not prohibit a tenant from posting or displaying noncommercial signs, posters, flags, or banners on or within any portion of the tenant’s dwelling unit, unless the postings or display would violate a local, state, or federal law. Without this bill, many tenants cannot fully enjoy basic free speech rights to post political signs without running the risk of receiving an eviction notice.

Dean Preston is the Executive Director of Tenants Together, California’s Statewide Organization for Renters’ Rights. For more information about Tenants Together, visit www.TenantsTogether.org.

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