Home>Articles>California Eviction Defense Program for Vulnerable Renters Bill Passes in Committee
Jesse Gabriel
Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

California Eviction Defense Program for Vulnerable Renters Bill Passes in Committee

AB 1487 would create a “Homeless Prevention Fund” for free eviction legal services, outreach

By Evan Symon, April 6, 2021 7:02 pm

A bill that would establish a statewide eviction defense program for renters with financial trouble passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Assembly Bill 1487, authored by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), would create a “Homeless Prevention Fund” that would be administered by the Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, a state bar run grant administration that funds nonprofit civil legal aid services. Through the bar, grants from the fund would be given to nonprofit organizations, local governments, and local governmental agencies that have demonstrated that they can provide education, outreach, and legal services for eviction protection. Under AB 1487, all services would be required to be of no cost to those that use them, with no more than 10% of grant funds from the Homeless Prevention Fund going to administrative costs.

The bill gives no final cost on how much the fund would be funded for, although the bill said it would be funded directly from legislature appropriation.

Assemblyman Gabriel wrote the bill due to the large number of impending evictions due to expiring eviction moratoriums later this year, as well as an approximate ratio of $4 gained by city and local governments for every $1 spent for similar programs through avoidance of public costs through shelters, health care, and other funds that would go elsewhere. Gabriel also cites other studies in the bill, such as a City of San Francisco Right to Counsel program evaluation that found that 2 out of every 3 tenants who received representation in eviction matters were allowed to stay, with an overall lowered number of eviction filings in the court system.

“Preventing evictions is key to addressing our homelessness crisis, particularly given the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable renters,” noted Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel on Monday. “This effort will leverage existing programs to address one of the root causes of the current crisis and help prevent homelessness before it begins. It builds upon an approach that has been proven to protect vulnerable communities, reduce homelessness, save taxpayer resources, and improve the fairness and efficiency of our judicial system.”

Support for, opposition against AB 1487

Other lawmakers also threw their support behind AB 1487 for similar reasons.

David Chiu
Assemblyman David Chiu. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“Tenants are consistently underrepresented in legal proceedings,” said Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) in a statement on Tuesday. “The lack of legal representation leads to increased displacement and housing insecurity. I’m proud to partner with Assemblymember Gabriel to ensure at-risk tenants can access the legal representation they deserve.”

While other lawmakers and groups support the bill, such as the Western Center on Law & Poverty and the Housing Now Coalition, many also quickly came out in opposition, including many landlords and property development groups.

“Some of us have been waiting a year to open up these apartments because of issues with tenants that we couldn’t do anything about because of COVID,” explained Oakland-area landlord Stacy Treacher to the Globe. “Basically they are using our own tax dollars against us by giving tenants, who have not paid or have been otherwise poor tenants, free lawyers in court. This is the state bullying us into keeping everyone in our apartments no matter what.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating since March of last year. And if this bill passes, it’s only going to continue screwing us over. And, look, we get there is a homeless crisis too and that they don’t want to add to that. But I don’t think they know the realities of the housing and rental markets.”

AB 1487 is expected to be heard on the Assembly floor in the coming months.

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9 thoughts on “California Eviction Defense Program for Vulnerable Renters Bill Passes in Committee

  1. This is what happens when we elect “community organizers” to legislative roles…

    We get stupid laws that make NO economic sense, but “feel good” to the “marginalized”…

    Well, Dems, YOU caused all this economic carnage from your emotion-drien ovrrreaction to the 99%+ survivable virus, so why don’t YOU fund all these feel-good programs from your union donors???

    This is all political theater…

  2. Sounds like a slush fund to me, to continue the assault on mom & pop landlords. I can’t imagine anybody supporting this bill has ever had to deal with landlord/tenants issues.

  3. You tell ‘em, Stacy Treacher! I had the misfortune of inheriting a rental house in 2019 with a long-term flaky tenant. Despite his high income, he took full advantage of the eviction moratorium….didn’t pay a dime, and totally ignored us. I spent thousands of dollars on eviction attorneys just to find out there was nothing I could do. The 80% “landlord bailout” doesn’t apply to me, as the tenant makes too much money.

    The only way I could get him to leave was to put the house up for sale, and offer to forgive the $25,000+ in back rent he owes. The house is now in escrow, and supposedly he has already sweet-talked some other poor landlady into renting him a house (he is a very smooth talker). We’re keeping our fingers crossed that he actually moves out. It breaks my heart, though, that I had to sell a house that has been in our family for 45 years, just because the government left me little other choice. I was scared to “wait it out” much longer, as California keeps passing more punitive laws against landlords, and I knew this tenant could easily be living there rent-free indefinitely. And what if the next tenant did the same thing?

    Everyone “lost” in my situation. I am losing my inherited rental property. The tenant is losing a cushy deal (my mom not only never raised his rent in 10 years, she had actually lowered it once, at his demand!)….now he has to pay market-rate at his new place, which is not as nice. And the state of California has lost one more rental property, as I’m selling to a flipper (no one else would consider a cluttered tenant-occupied property), who will later sell it to a family for a million dollars. So that’s one less affordable rental house when the “wave of evictions” hits someday. And I’m sure I’m not the only landlord bailing out of this business at this time!

  4. There are still ways to get rid of a deadbeat renter, but it requires being sneaky. And, the ChinkDuo, Ted Lieu and David Chiu, are the two most responsible for making life impossibly miserable for anyone owning rental property. Ask me how I know (/s). Truly, the state wants to take over all housing in CA, rental, owner, whatever. The private property landlord is in the crosshairs and has already taken incoming rounds. Your best defense is Dennis P. Block and Associates here: https://www.evict123.com/

  5. This is infuriating! How about a plan to educate people that their first obligation is to pay their rent; before all their other “wants”? Bills like this one and others passed during the last year, and even before that, is another reason I have sold all but one of my rentals in CA and exchanged them for rentals in more landlord-friendly states. The last one will be sold soon and I’ll be out of the landlord business in this ridiculous state. If any of these legislators would use their brains to THINK, they’d realize that I’m not alone and houses that were once rentals are now owner occupied, leaving fewer rentals available for tenants! I’m sick of it, and I’m not alone!

  6. Where is the campaign to vote out these legislators who so flagrantly violate property rights and contribute to the destruction of this state. This exemplifies the extreme danger of one party rule. There are many who rely on rental income for survival. The ignorant in power never consider the unintended consequences of their actions.

  7. This is the Great Reset Agenda 30 being rolled out, courtesy of Bill Gates and Klaus Schwab. Their end game goal is to ban private property. They will torture landlords until you sell and ultimately a few oligarchs will own everything. Watch INFOWARS.COM.
    Look up the WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, these are dangerous commies who want one world government totalitarianism where you own no real estate.

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