California Assembly Kills Eviction-Protection Bills

California Assembly Kills Eviction-Protection Bills

July 2018

The California Assembly on May 31 defeated two bills that would have outlawed evictions without a cause and closed loopholes that enable owners to oust tenants by claiming they’re taking the building out of the rental market. 

The “just-cause eviction” bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), would have prohibited landlords from evicting tenants without stating a specific reason. It lost 36-16, with 11 Democrats joining 25 Republicans in voting no, and 25 more members not voting. 

The statewide Tenants Together organization backed the legislation, saying that landlords often give tenants a 60-day eviction notice if they request repairs. Tenant groups estimate there are more than 40,000 eviction judgments a year in California, not counting people who move out before their case goes to court. 

Landlord groups opposed it. The California Apartment Association contended that enacting just-cause protections “will lead to significantly higher rents,” because in places without rent controls, owners would oust tenants by raising rents. The San Diego County Apartment Association argued that the bill would prevent property owners from evicting tenants who have been repeatedly reported to “commit petty crime for which solid proof does not exist.” 

The Assembly also rejected a measure that would have amended the state Ellis Act, which now lets owners evict rent-regulated tenants by taking the entire building off the market. It would have required landlords to give all tenants notice of such a move one year in advance, not just elderly and disabled residents, and extended the length of time before an owner can legally re-rent any units in the building from five years to ten. 

It lost 36-25, with nine Democrats voting no.