Hancock Vote Hurts Renters

Like her husband Mayor Bates, Berkeley’s representative in the California Senate is starting to vote against tenants. BTU needs you to stand with us, and tenants across the state, to stop a very real threat.

We are asking you to take two actions:

  1. Call Loni Hancock right now, and tell her you are ashamed of her vote on AB1513.
    Call (510) 286-1333
  2. Sign Tenants Together’s message to our Senator and ask your friends to do so too!
    http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5247/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17893

The proposed law Hancock voted in favor of at the Senate Rules Committee is sponsored by the Association of Realtors. The wording allows any owner to ask the police to evict a tenant without going to court if the landlord claims the tenant is trespassing. That means any renter who can’t produce a written lease when the cops come to the door is at risk.

Banks claim they want this extra- judicial eviction option because there are squatters, but banks have a long history of trying to evict legitimate tenants. Even though the bill has been amended to impact “only” three cities, it sets a dangerous precedent, it could be expanded and it leaves tenants in Palmdale, Lancaster and Ukiah at risk of being thrown on the street without having their day in court. Regular eviction proceedings are already fast tracked. There are laws against trespassers, too. This law is unnecessary!

Additionally, the bill has no penalties for landlords who lie. So if the tenant later shows they were legit, they would have to convince the District Attorney to prosecute the owner for perjury, or nothing at all will happen to those who try to harass renters this way. This is what the Berkeley Rent Board was told by the legislative advocate the Board has instructed to try to stop the bill.

This bill just is not fair! Let the judge decide!

Update:

Current law allows police to arrest trespassers, and when it isn’t clear if someone’s a trespasser, the matter gets resolved in court where a tenant has the right to trial in an expedited proceeding. The bill’s author and its sponsor, the California Association of Realtors, have not explained why existing law is not sufficient to deal with trespassers. Legislators have not even asked the author or sponsors to come forward with a single case in which a new “eviction by declaration” law is needed. Yet the bill continues to advance. This contrasts sharply with how tenant protection bills are treated in the Capitol.” http://beyondchron.org/eviction-by-declaration-bill-advances-exposing-sacramento-double-standard-on-tenants/

Analysis:

Not simply a bill to address tenants living in foreclosed homes, AB 1513 could seriously jeopardize tenants who have no protection of a written lease agreement. AB 1513 could allow slumlords to evict their tenants simply by stating to the police department of their local jurisdiction that their tenant was an “unlawful occupant,” nullifying the tenant’s constitutionally protected due process.” http://sandiegofreepress.org/2014/04/california-state-assembly-bill-ab-1513-will-take-away-tenants-rights/#.U7NwCGS9Kc0

“AB 1513 is also unclear regarding a resident’s rights if a property owner improperly evicts. It appears that the property owner’s only liability is based upon perjury. Accordingly, even a resident improperly evicted by a property owner making a false statement would have no recourse if the property owner’s false statement was made due to a mistake, lack of knowledge, or even lack of understanding regarding the law. Because of this, AB 1513 places a premium on the ignorance of property owners who can evict residents at will as long as they subjectively believe they have the right to do so.” http://oaklandwiki.org/AB-1513

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