“There is this narrative out there that there is a moratorium,” said Lorraine Lopez, senior attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “But it still requires the tenant to assert these defenses in court. You’re still fighting these things in court.”
“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.”
“California’s rent-control laws may complicate the landlord’s decision, said Tina Rosales, a lobbyist with the Western Center on Law and Poverty. Under state law, landlords can charge as much as they can get for a rent-controlled unit once it becomes vacant. So it could be more lucrative to pursue an eventual eviction and not forgive debts if a tenant is paying significantly below market rates.
“It has the potential for landlords to pick and choose which tenants they will participate in the program with,” Rosales said, potentially affecting the most vulnerable.”
“This really sort of puts the ball into the landlords’ court in a way that we’re not quite happy with,” said Cynthia Castillo, policy advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “It does the urgent work of extending the (eviction) moratorium, which we were very concerned about.”
“We don’t think that the science and public health would affirm the idea that we should be evicting people from their homes during the COVID crisis,” said Mike Herald, director of policy advocacy for the Western Center on Law and Poverty.”
“Mike Herald, director of policy advocacy for the Western Center on Law & Poverty, a legal aid organization that was involved in bill negotiations, said he would be watching in the coming weeks to make sure landlords don’t look for ways to get around the law. He said the governor and Legislature must figure out a way to address the financial fallout of widespread nonpayment of rent next year.
“This staves off the worst of the potential crisis that could have come, but it does still leave off some very big issues,” he said.”
“Nisha Vyas, senior attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said it is crucial that the state Legislature passes the bill before the session ends Aug. 31. “The housing crisis in California was ongoing well before the pandemic.”
“We are facing a momentous societal shift. We need to put the brakes on this now,” she said.”
“(These evictions) could have been prevented, and it really is distressing to hear that this many people have been evicted when we have these shelter-in-place orders,” said Madeline Howard, senior staff attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which has lobbied for tighter eviction protections during the pandemic.”