Friday, November 26, 2021

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Coalition for 
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Coalition For Economic Survival 14320 Ventura Blvd. - PMB 537
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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Governor Signs Two Important
Tenants' Rights Bills, But Vetoes Another


It went down to the wire, but on the final day to act on bills passed by the state legislature, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two important tenants’ rights bills providing tenants across California a significant victory. Unfortunately, the Governor also vetoed a bill that would have provided needed protection for mobile home owners from greedy owners’ attempts to convert their mobile home parks.

60 Day Eviction Notice Requirement Now Permanent

SB 290, authored by San Francisco State Senator Mark Leno, will make the 60-day notice requirement for no-fault evictions permanent. The 60-day notice requirement has been law for six years, but was scheduled to expire at the end of this year. The law provides much needed time for tenants who are evicted through no fault of their own to locate new housing.

New Tenant Protections From Utility Shut-Offs

The other important bill signed by the Governor was Long Beach area State Senator Alan Lowenthal's, SB 120. The bill provides tenants increased protection against utility shutoffs, including tenants in single-family homes. The law is particularly important for tenants in homes going through foreclosure, as defaulting landlords and banks are notorious for failing to maintain basic utility services for their tenants.

The new law permits a residential occupant of a multi-unit dwelling to assume responsibility for paying service charges from a public utility, corporation, or district, as specified, and to deduct those charges from any rent owed if the services are supposed to be included in the rental price.

Thank You’s Are In Order

In addition to Senators Leno and Lowenthal, CES extends a big thank you to the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which has provided legislative advocacy to CES and other tenants’ rights organizations and Legal Service groups throughout California for decades. Western Center sponsored both SB 120 and 290, and worked tirelessly to make sure these measures became law. And a thank you is in order for the Governor who did sign these bills.

Unfortunately, AB 566, Santa Barbara Assemblymember Pedro Nava's equally important bill, fell to the Governor’s veto pen. The bill would have required majority resident approval for mobile home park conversions. Park conversions undermine rent control, making it particularly crucial that residents have a say in conversions.

In vetoing AB 566, Schwarzenegger stated, "While the intent of this bill is to preserve low-income housing, the fact that a majority of mobile home park residents do not support a conversion is not an appropriate means for determining the legitimacy of a conversion. The law is not intended to allow park residents to block a request to subdivide."

Mobile home owners’ groups and Assemblymember Nava are committed to continuing the fight to ensure winning needed protections from greedy mobile home park owners.

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