Proposition 15: Yes to Funding for Communities and Schools

We support Proposition 15 on this November’s ballot because it would right an egregious wrong when voters passed Proposition 13 in 1978. That measure was sold on the premise it would limit property-tax increases for older homeowners. But the ballot measure did not distinguish between commercial and residential property, which allowed commercial property investors to surf the cresting wave of tax-revolt in California to a big score. Commercial property owners saw tax assessments rolled-back to 1975 levels and annual increases capped at 2%. It was a gift that’s been giving for four decades. Proposition 15 would force owners of commercial property to pay their fair share while shielding residential property owners from big increases.

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Renters Alliance Endorses Proposition 21

On the November ballot is Proposition 21, “The Rental Affordability Act.” Every tenant should support this ballot measure because it will roll back many, though not all, of the limits on rent control adopted by our landlord-friendly legislature in Sacramento. Nearly every pro-tenant bill each session is shot down by legislators who are not tenants and don’t understand tenant concerns. This by-the-people initiative bypasses the legislature to amend key sections of landlord-tenant law with rental affordability as the top priority. (Heck, it’s right there in the name.) Renters Alliance urges a YES vote on Prop 21!

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Trump’s Executive Order: Too Little for Tenants, and Late Too

The president of the United States on August 8th signed an executive order “to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, residential evictions and foreclosures during the ongoing COVID–19 national emergency.” The rationale was to prevent the “further spread of COVID–19,” but the order didn’t specify any measure to stem the expected wave of evictions. Namely there was no actual prohibition on eviction for non-payment and no provision for subsidies to help tenants. So what did this executive order accomplish exactly?

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Beverly Hills OKs $1M Rent Subsidy Program

Beverly Hills tenants who have been affected by COVID–19 may find relief in a new city rent subsidy program. First proposed two years ago as a general subsidy for rent-burdened tenants, the refashioned program is scoped-down in reach but scaled-up in benefit. City council at its September 15th meeting agreed to throw as much as $1 million toward rent-relief program to provide $1,000 for at least three months to tenants affected by COVID–19 measures. While tenants seeking relief will likely have to wait a month to get it, we do know something about program particulars.

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Watch Landlord Stephen Copen Unlawfully Evict His Tenant

Landlord Stephen T. Copen was arrested and booked last Monday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office after forcefully evicting a tenant from his 611 Gayley Avenue property. He was charged with misdemeanor vandalism for tossing his tenant’s property out of the unit and allegedly causing $2k in damage. Not only was this eviction illegal (there was no court order), but it occurred despite the City of LA’s eviction moratorium.

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Courts Can Process Evictions. What Does That Mean for Tenants?

The state policy-making body for the courts decided last week to sunset Emergency Rule #1 that puts the brake on unlawful detainers in Superior Court. The rule is providing immediate relief for tenants with cases in the eviction pipeline. But the greater effect is to prevent tenants from being summoned in such cases. Emergency rule #1 was issued by the Judicial Council in April in response to the pandemic but as of September it goes away even though we’re stuck with the pandemic. What does it mean for tenants?

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California Courts Again Are Open for Eviction Proceedings

Tenants who may have viewed the Superior Court’s pause on evictions as a backstop to our local eviction moratorium should know that eviction cases (and filings) will proceed as of September 1st. An amended rule by the court’s Judicial Council on August 13th imposes a sunset clause on its Emergency rule #1 promulgated in April to pause evictions. It may sound arcane but it augurs some pain for tenants who are at risk of displacement during the pandemic.

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Renters Alliance Position on Mandatory Rent Repayment Plans: A Bad Idea!

City council will discuss modifying the urgency ordinance to possibly implement something like a mandatory rent-repayment plan for tenants who seek forbearance of rent due to COVID-19 emergency measures. No other major California city imposes the requirement as a condition for assistance because it means committing the tenant to an additional monthly financial obligation (on top of the regular rent) at a time when economic uncertainty is at its highest. Here are the points I made to city council.

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The Mandatory Rent Repayment Plan: No Good Option for Tenants

Tuesday afternoon city council will consider modifying the urgency ordinance that sets the terms for the moratoriums on eviction for non-payment. The agenda item A–2 is titled ‘Consideration of Modifications to the City’s Urgency Ordinance 20-O–2808.’ We could have missed this important discussion had we not read through each of the five meeting agendas on the council calendar that day. Good thing we noticed: up for discussion is a proposal to make a rent repayment plan mandatory for tenants who delay paying the rent.

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