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California Cities Find Themselves In An Eviction Crunch Less Than Two Months Before AB 1482 Begins

Landlords and tenants both prepare for the upcoming statewide rent control law.

By Evan Symon, November 19, 2019 2:15 am

In September, Assembly Bill 1482 was passed and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. Authored by Assemblymen David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Timothy Grayson (D-Concord), and Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), AB 1482 puts a cap on annual rent increases and removes no-cause evictions. Come January 1st, all evictions in California will need an approved cause for eviction.

Assemblyman David Chiu, one of the authors of the AB 1482 which caps rent increases and eliminates no-cause evictions. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

However, with landlords now racing around the clock, a huge upswing of evictions and rent prices have been reported around California. Landlords hoping for higher-paying renters and wanting difficult tenants out now have less than two months to get what they want in place, with many soon to be former tenants, now finding themselves scrambling around the holidays.

Evicted with 60 days notice

Maria Garcia is one such tenant. She was given 60 days notice just last week for her suburban LA two-bedroom rented house.

“I’ve always paid rent on time every month for the last eight years.” said Garcia to the Globe. “The rent has slowly gone up, but I kept up. Now I’m being evicted over not paying on time.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve called around, but any agency that could help me has been getting so many calls from people in my situation. To get the size of house I need, with my kids, I’ve been having to look at San Bernardino and Riverside. Not nearby, but a county away.”

While the landlord we contacted did not respond, another tenant close to the landlord – who it should be noted is not being evicted – said “[Landlord] is doing this because they have been late, but he was too nice of a guy to punish them before. With these new laws, he was afraid they would take advantage of it somehow and would put him through the wringer.”

“He’s not the only one I know of either. Many who have people that have been unreliable or aren’t trying hard on keeping up with rent are being let go now.”

In response Maria told the Globe that she had simply paid on time, and that getting rid of her, even though she has paid in the end, is “taking the coward’s way out.”

Some cities already have rent control and advanced tenant eviction laws

Not every California city is experiencing this however. San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose already have rent control and advanced tenant eviction laws. Los Angeles, Pasadena, Daly City and other Bay Area and Southern California cities recently passed their own in response to many landlords sending out eviction notices and rent increases before local residents noticed. Many other cities are also in the process of enacting similar new laws including Palo Alto and San Mateo.

Jasper Kyle, who owns two rental properties in Los Angeles, explained to the Globe just what kind of effect it has had.

“It really feels like we don’t have any power now,” explained Kyle. “There’s a lot of terrible renters, but all everyone seems to care about is why you’re making someone ‘homeless.'”

“I feel for them, I really do, but property taxes go up,  as do utilities and a lot of other expenses. Especially maintenance. And since we can only raise the rent so much now, we have to do a lot more guesswork on how much things will cost, or what the average tenant will need in terms of repairs and upkeep.

“And evictions, this only means that we’re going to be evaluating possible tenants all the more closely. That credit score will mean so, so much more now, as will the look into making sure they have a job that pays enough. It’s only going to make it harder to rent, and for any renter with a small credit score hit, they may take awhile.”

“Evictions are expensive”

AB 1482 sets a flat rate across California for rent increases: 5% per year, as well as the cost of inflation. Since there are parts in AB 1482 that protect against sudden increases in rent from happening, the rise of evictions have been compensating that before the ‘just cause’ eviction part of AB 1482 also starts up. With a new tenant, a new rate is set at whatever price the landlord wants. But an existing tenant can only have small gains in rent increases from the older rent rate.

“Evictions are also expensive,” said Kyle. “It costs tens of thousands of dollars sometimes just to get rid of one guy. So it makes more sense for us to keep who we have. Evictions are last report for us too, so it tells you something just how bad we’ll be getting it with these new laws.”

With tenants now forming together and hiring lawyers across California to stop evictions and rent increases, and landlords doing all they can legally do to make sure they don’t end up losing everything with the new law, the fight over the changes of AB 1482 will drag on until January 1st when it officially becomes law.

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