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EMERGENCY WATER CONSERVAION REGULATIONS
On July 15, 2014 California's state water board approved and submitted  emergency water use regulations due to a very severe drought. These regulations would allow for fines to be charged both tenants and landlords depending on which
party is responsible or is in control of any improper water use.


FORECLOSURE SETTLEMENT WITH SUN TRUST MORTGAGE
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced (on June 17, 2014) a $550 million joint state-federal settlement
with mortgage lender and servicer SunTrust Mortgage Inc. to address mortgage origination, servicing, and foreclosure
 abuses. The three-year settlement provides direct payments to California borrowers for past foreclosure abuses, loan modifications and other relief for borrowers in need of assistance, and tough new mortgage servicing standards, and grants oversight authority to an independent monitor
.

Project 25 in San Diego which is a program providing housing for the homeless
may come to an end because it could be
"out of money"

VACANCY RATES DROP TO RECORD LOWS
Low vacancy rates make it harder to fine a rental unit based on increased demand
and little new supply. 
See the article in the Times of San Diego

FORECLOSURES  DROPPING IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY
See the article in the  UT

TAX BREAK FOR FORECLOSURE AND SHORT SALE OF PRINCIPAL
RESIDENCES SET TO EXPIRE AT END OF 2013

 Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 was scheduled to expire December 31, 2012 but was extended to expire December 31, 2013 (unless it is extended again).  See this information from the IRS website. and see this  article with a video.

NEW PROGRAM TO PUT ELECTRIC VEHICLE
CHARGING STATIONS IN MULTI FAMILY BUILDINGS
ChargePoint, a California electric charging station operator, said its administering a program to install 206 electric
 vehicle charging stations at apartment and condo locations in San Diego County. The program allows property owners
to apply for free EV chargers, but the property owners must pay for the installation.  Deadline to apply is March 1, 2014.
Affected occupants with an electric vehicle may want to notify the landlord or HOA of their interest
in having these stations installed.


GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN ENDS ...FOR NOW
Thousands of Federal employees returned to work after Congress made a deal to end the partial shutdown
of the federal government and provide funding temporarily through January 15, 2014.  The effects of that
shutdown may still be felt by many residents even though it is ended for now.
See the article in the  UT


SANTEE SETTLES CHALLENGES TO MOBILE HOME RENT CONTROL
The city of Santee ends 17 year legal battle over rent control in Mobile Home parks.
See the article in the UT

VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE / ABUSE
ADDITIONAL LEASE BREAK PROTECTIONS
 

Civil Code 1946.7
currently provides that a tenant may notify the landlord in writing that he or she or a household member, as defined, was a victim of an act of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or elder abuse as defined, and intends to terminate the tenancy. For 2014, Senate Bill 612 provides additional protections. As of January 1, 2014. victims of human trafficking are to be added for this protection.  Further, a victim may support proof of the abuse ( in addition to a Restraining Order or Police Report)  with " Documentation from a qualified third party based on information received by that third party while acting in his or her professional capacity to indicate that the tenant or household member is seeking assistance for physical or mental injuries or abuse resulting from an act of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, elder abuse, or dependent adult abuse."  A "qualified third person" may be one  "...who meets the requirements for a sexual assault counselor, domestic violence counselor, or a human trafficking caseworker only if the documentation displays the letterhead of the office, hospital, institution, center, or organization, as appropriate, that engages or employs, whether financially compensated or not, this counselor or caseworker."  This additional  protection is set to expire December 31, 2015 however victims of human trafficking will still be included in the 2016 version of the law.

APPELLATE COURT ALLOWS HOME SHOWINGS ON WEEKENDS
A  State Appellate Court (in Los Angeles County) took up the question of when a Landlord may seek entry and control over a rented home to show it to potential buyers including holding an all afternoon "open house".  The Court in that case said that it is within the permission and authority of Civil Code 1954 to allow "open houses" on a Saturday or Sunday.  There were some unique restrictions and guidelines which preserved some protections for the renters in that case.  Regardless of this case, Landlords must still not abuse the right of entry.


TENANTS CHECKING OUT LANDLORDS BEFORE RENTING FROM THEM?

With so many foreclosures, maybe it is time tenants check the credit of landlords before renting.  Some landlords who face foreclosure will rent the home to unsuspecting tenants collecting rent all the way to losing the home at a foreclosure sale.  They collect rent but do not pay the mortgage since they are planning to let the home go.  The problem is that the tenants do not know about the owner's plans and think they are leasing a secure home.  These tenants become victims because they leased a home on the edge of foreclosure which will lead to their eviction, regardless of the lease. Tenants can actually research the risk of foreclosure before renting and moving in.  Anyone can access public records in San Diego to see if there is a NOTICE OF DEFAULT (NOD) on the property.  Once one of these is issued, the owner has  time to cure the default before the sale.  Clearly, tenants who discover a NOD should understand that beginning to or continuing to rent that home carries the risk of being evicted by the lender after a foreclosure.  Innocent tenants displaced by a foreclosure may also make a claim against the prior owner for breach of the lease and perhaps even a claim for damages based on fraud.
UPDATE 7/26/13
Landlords agree.  Even they know some of them need to be screened.  Read more here.

VACANCIES ARE DOWN, RENTS ARE UP
See the UT article

BUDGET CUTS LIMIT SMALL CLAIMS COURT ADVISOR ASSISTANCE
As of June 1, 2013, assistance in person to those involved in or wishing to file a case in the Small Claims Court is no
longer available from the Court in San Diego County due to budget cuts.  An information phone bank may be reached at (858) 634-1717.  An attorney is not required to prepare a Small Claims case.  Legal assistance to protect your case is still recommended for the Small Claims Court since many complex laws are involved which can affect the case n a significant manner.  Knowing these laws and how to best present them for your case may be the key to a successful result.

SMOKE FREE HOUSING PROMOTED BY PUBLIC HOUSING AGENCIES
HUD and local San Diego City and  San Diego County are adopting policies providing smoke free housing in Govt. owned and/or subsidized housing units.  See also.  The SMOKE FREE housing policy consideration decision is based on several factors.  These include the numerous health hazards and considerations from second hand smoke, increased fire hazards as well as the economic impact of cleaning litter and of specially cleaning a former smoking unit. As a further benefit, loitering is reduced.

REPRESENTING
YOURSELF
IN DEFENDING AN EVICTION?
DON'T DO IT
Tenants here are still losing valuable rights by handling their own eviction defense.  Defending yourself in an eviction case in San Diego, in the vast majority of cases, is court "suicide".  Statistically, most all tenants who represent themselves in eviction court will lose or be tricked into signing a bad settlement.  Using any self help assistance service or book creates a serious risk that you will lose your case, regardless of your rights.  Having someone prepare your papers without them being available to represent you in court is very dangerous.  This is because eviction cases and trials are so complex that a skilled attorney is really necessary to properly handle these matters.  Even with settlements, remember the landlord is motivated to settle the case with your attorney, not you.  This is because, they are not afraid of you in court, only your attorney.  By the way, this situation is pretty much the same for landlords.  Many landlords have represented themselves in court against a skilled tenant's rights attorney and learned the hard way just how technical and difficult these cases can be.  Coming in second in trial (i.e. losing) for a landlord who just assumed they would easily win can be a real eye opener.

LANDLORDS ABUSING THEIR
POWER OF EVICTION

  Many San Diego tenants are still receiving eviction notices for minor and trivial reasons.  San Diego County is still a "no cause" eviction jurisdiction.  San Diego City, however, is now a just cause eviction jurisdiction after the first two years of a tenancy according to the City ordinance.  Landlords continue to seek only the "best" or "their favorite" tenants and tend to evict the rest.  These desired tenants can be the good timely paying tenants or simply those tenants willing to accept abuse and unfair treatment without complaint. 

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California law for San Diego is applied in these pages.  Such laws may or may not be applicable in other jurisdictions and may no longer be applicable.  The information provided herein is of a general nature and is not intended to be taken as specific legal advice.   Legal summaries are only the opinion of the Tenants Legal Center and are not intended nor should they be relied upon as any specific representation of any law.  For legal advice in a particular situation, promptly consult with an appropriate attorney.