News from Sacramento
Mark Leno’s Ellis Act reform bill (SB1439) was amended so only San Francisco tenants will be protected if the law passes. Yet tenants all over California are rallying to support long-time renters who face a dire situation in San Francisco, so the bill passed the state Senate and is now in the Assembly. It goes to the Housing and Community Development Committee on Wednesday.
The Berkeley Rent Board voted in March to ask Loni Hancock and Nancy Skinner to work to amend the bill so it protects East Bay renters. The Board will get an update from the legislative advocates on Monday June 16 on this and other state legislation.
There were no Ellis evictions filed in Berkeley from 2011 through 2013. The Rent Board gives a report once a year, but tenant advocates have told the Tenants Union that there are many renters in Berkeley threatened with Ellis evictions. When tenants leave without an official eviction, there is no statistical record.
Amended “Squatters Bill” Remains Threat to Renters
A bill in the state assembly intended to allow cities to evict squatters without going through a full eviction process in court could put any tenant without a written lease at risk of losing her or his access to the justice system. BTU worked to discourage our representatives in Sacramento to support the bill.
Recently, AB1513 was amended to only cover a couple places in Southern California, but if it is made law, it could set a dangerous precedent to allow the police to remove renters without the owner going to court.
Berkeley Supports Renters Tax Assistance
On June 3, Berkeley City Council approved a recommendation from the Housing Advisory Commission to support AB 2175 (Daly). The bill calls for restoration and expansion of State Tax Assistance to Renters, particularly seniors, the disabled, and low-income folks. Council voted to send letters to State Senator Hancock, Assembly member Skinner, and Governor Brown to communicate the City of Berkeley’s support for AB 2175.
The Rent Board also voted in March to go on record supporting the bill, and will get an update on Monday June 16 from the legislative advocate.
Expanding Seismic Retrofit Requirements to Other Types of Buildings
In March, the Rent Board also voted to advise the City Council to review AB 2181, which would authorize cities to implement retrofit requirements on non-ductile concrete residential buildings by adding those structures to existing law regarding soft story buildings.