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Archive 4/2/17

LANDLORDS STARTING TO RESIST Airbnb
"Increasingly, landlords want to keep their tenants from renting their apartments through
Airbnb or similar sites, city brokers and lawyers said.  Landlords are adding riders to leases
clearly stating tenants will face eviction if found to be renting their units.
They're adding cameras, hiring private investigators or implementing new lock systems
to catch tenants engaging in the practice."
DNA INFO (New York)

SAN DIEGO APARTMENT RENTS RISE FASTER THAN
STATE, NATIONAL AVERAGE
"A new survey of California apartment rents finds the state outpaced the nation when it comes to rent hikes
over the past year. The ApartmentList.com report found rent hikes in California exceeded the national
average every month during 2015." KPBS , 1/5/2016

SAN DIEGO MOVING TOWARD STRICTER REGULATION OF "MINIDORMS"
The San Diego City Council acted to strengthen the 'Minidorm" ordinances it passed in 2008.
"Rooming houses" were difficult to identify but the revised ordinance seeks to correct that by calling them a  "dwelling unit where three or more rooms, excluding kitchens and bathrooms, are rented to three or more individuals under three or more separate rental agreements or leases."  See the article in the
UT

FOR LEASES ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2015, LANDLORDS
TO ALLOW VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS

AB 2565 provides that for leases entered into, extended or renewed on or after after July 1, 2015, landlords shall now allow tenants to install vehicle charging stations at residential and commercial properties under certain and specific conditions.

Archive 6/15/16

SHORT TERM RENTALS
See the article in the UT
(5/16/15)
"Calls for short-term-rental controls spreading"

SAN DIEGO RENTS STILL ON THE RISE
See the article in the UT (4/14/15)
"Why your rent won't stop rising"

VACANCY RATE DROPS TO 2.6
A
survey by the SDCAA (December 2014) reports a decline in available vacancies ("Vacancy rate")
from 4.1 last spring to 2.6 but may be due to "temporary .factors".  As has been a historical trend,
higher rents usually follow when vacancy rates drop.

Archive 3/13/16

SAN DIEGO RENTS ROSE AN AVERAGE OF $55 PER MONTH IN 2014
Rents in San Diego rose by an average of $55 per month in 2014, according  Zillow Inc.
"Over the past fourteen years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth,
burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing."
(Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries) See the full article in the Times of San Diego

APARTMENT RENTS RISE, VACANCIES FALL
"The rents are going up and the vacancies are going down," said Russell Valone, MarketPointe
president. (according to an article in the  Daily Transcript)

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

Archive 1/7/15

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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Archive 10/18/13

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
The Federal Government "partial shutdown" could affect subsidized housing as well as other government benefits.
See the following article in the Washington Post and also see

HUD's Contingency Plan for Possible Lapse in Appropriations


Archive Date  6/21/13

SMOKE FREE HOUSING?
California recently rejected a bill meant to provide for smoke free housing. So may people are negatively impacted by being forced to breath second hand smoke while others still want the right to smoke even knowing the dangers to themselves and others. Read a recent article in the UT and cast your vote on whether you would prefer housing to be smoke free or not.  

Archive Date  5/27/13

LANDLORDS MAY NOT DEMAND ELECTRONIC RENT OR DEPOSIT PAYMENTS
For  2013, SB 1055 was signed into law on September 7, 2012.  It provides that ..."  a landlord
or a landlord's agent shall allow a tenant to pay rent and deposit of security by at least one form of payment that is neither
cash nor electronic funds transfer.' This will be a great relief to tenants being forced to pay by bank transfers or other web payment methods when they do not want to do that.  Such transfers systems robbed tenants of their privacy and
forced many into a default situation when their deposits came right after a rent withdrawal was made electronically.
They can still voluntarily agree in a lease to have an electronic payment method.

COURTS ANNOUNCE MORE CUTS IN HOURS
San Diego County Courts close on FRIDAYS at NOON (starting 9/5/12).

APARTMENT RENTS EXPECTED TO RISE IN 2012
"Rents are expected to rise and competition for apartments may stiffen in San Diego County as more folks defer owning a home amid what appears to be a slowly improving job market. Rising demand from young workers � also known as Gen Y�ers � fewer new units and tighter standards for mortgages also have pushed people into the rental market.  The result is a jump in rental rates. In March, the average rent in the county was $1,361, up 2.6 percent from a year ago, says real estate data company MarketPointe.
read the full story in the UT

STATE PROGRAM TO ASSIST HOMEOWNERS THAT ARE "UNDERWATER"
The San Diego Public Policy Examiner reports that there are some ".. new changes in "Keep Your Home California" a program run by California Housing Finance,  San Diego homeowners whose homes are underwater may qualify to keep their home if their income level is no more than $89,900."

UPDATE on the  National Mortgage Settlement

SURVIVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING OR COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AMONG THOSE TO GET HOUSING ASSISTANCE
March 18, 2012 - New regional projects have just received more than $1.7 million in federal funding. The new projects will provide transitional and long-term housing and support services for homeless people.  �The missing piece has been housing,� said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. �Now the federal government is providing $200,000 over two years to fund six transitional housing beds and services for homeless women who are survivors of human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation.� The project will be located in an unincorporated area of the County and is sponsored by the non-profit organization GenerateHOPE. Other projects in the works are the Vista Terrace Project, a 47-unit complex in Vista, (North County Solutions for Change)  and the new Connections Housing Project in the rehabilitated World Trade Center in downtown San Diego (People Assisting the Homeless). 


Archive Date  5/5/13

CITY OF SAN DIEGO CONSIDERS A
"SMOKE FREE" HOUSING ORDINANCE

On 2/15/2012 The San Diego Smoke Free Housing Task Force presented to the Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhood Services of the San Diego City Council, a proposed ordinance regarding moving toward providing a more smoke free housing environment for renters.  The ordinance would prohibit, as a nuisance, smoking that substantially interferes with another tenant's use of their home.  While not an outright smoking ban, it could significantly restrict or "ban" the ability to smoke at a multifamily (4 or more units) residence upon proper notice by any affected resident. The Committee voted to send the matter to the City Attorney's office for their review, analysis and comment.
Could smoking be banned in SD apartments?
UPDATE: The City Attorney did not support the proposed Ordinance.

"NATIONAL MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT" PROVIDES
RELIEF FOR QUALIFYING HOMEOWNERS

49 States including California have joined in a Federal Lawsuit Settlement involving
the following lending institutions:
Ally/GMAC   Bank of America   Citi   JPMorgan Chase   
Wells Fargo
This settlement is intended to provide mortgage relief even after a foreclosure sale.
 National Mortgage Settlement
California Resources for Homeowners

RENTAL VACANCY SURVEY
See the article

DOCUMENTARY
Locally produced documentary to inform San Diego residents about their rights as tenants.

RENTS IN SAN DIEGO ON THE RISE
Apartment rents were depressed between 2007 and 2010 due to the sagging economy. 
Starting last year, rents began rising in San Diego based on a study of larger community
apartments (100+ units).  According to RealFacts, and the data they gathered, average rents in
San Diego County rose as of September 30, 2011 to $1,404 a month, up 0.5 percent from 
June 2011, and 1.6 percent from September 2010.  Their data also reveal that occupancy has
been on the rise as well. In San Diego County, occupancy rose to 95.5 percent, up 0.5
percentage points from June 2011 and up 0.7 percentage points from September 2010.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY HOUSING INSPECTION PROGRAM
San Diego
County has established a new program, "Keeping You Safe," (See Video)
designed to ensure property owners and managers are properly maintaining their units. 
Environmental Health Specialists are specifically enforcing state guidelines affecting
certain health and safety codes and conditions.

THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE (UT) BRINGS BACK THE
RENTAL ROUNDTABLE LANDLORD TENANT COLUMN

This column focuses on issues confronting renters and landlords is written  by certified property manager Robert Griswold, author  of �Property Management for  Dummies,� and by attorney Steven R. Kellman, Founder of  the Tenants Legal Center.
  The Union-Tribune had featured this column since 1992.

UPDATE ON FEDERAL LAW PROTECTING
RESIDENTIAL TENANTS AFTER FORECLOSURE!!
 On July 21, 2010, the existing PROTECTING TENANTS AT FORECLOSURE ACT was amended as part of the financial reform laws.  The Amendment clarified that the term "Notice of Foreclosure" in the original law meant the actual sale and transfer of title so all residential leases entered into prior
to that sale may be protected 
see the changes

FEDERAL LAW REGARDING TENANCIES AFTER FORECLOSURE
On May 20, 2009, the President signed a Federal Law ( Public Law 111-22 ).  This law was then amended by Public Law 111-203  SEE THE LAW as a part of the financial reforms in  the
�Dodd-FrankWall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act� (see section 1484) on July 21, 2010.   This law has a significant impact on tenants residing in a residential property that has been foreclosed upon.  It is intended to assist residential tenants by doing three important things;

!. Transferring existing leases (including section 8 tenancies) to the new owners after a foreclosure sale (except that 90 days notice to vacate may be given prior to the end of a lease if the new owner plans to live in the dwelling).
2. Requiring 90 day notices to vacate (State law was 60 days) for month to month  tenancies after a foreclosure sale.
3. Declaring that a foreclosure is not "good cause" alone to evict a section 8 tenant.

There are conditions that need to be met under this Federal Law

The lease or rental agreement must have been in existence prior to the "notice of the foreclosure" (which now means all the way up to title transferring at the actual auction sale.)
There must be a "bona fide tenant" or "bona fide tenancy"

If these conditions are not met, then State law applies.

Additional consequences and effects
Paying Rent Coming under this law means that the tenant may now have to pay the lease rent after a foreclosure.  Existing State Law allowed a tenant 60 days after a foreclosure of a dwelling to vacate without paying rent.  This was regarded as an unofficial relocation benefit.  This new Federal Law appears to wipe out the free rent California tenants were enjoying.  The (pre- foreclosure notice) lease may be recognized and assumed by the new owner who may now want the rent immediately after the foreclosure sale.  Stranger as New Landlord  After the foreclosure sale, the tenant will "inherit" a new landlord who may not be the person or entity that the tenant would have a wanted as a landlord if they had a choice in the matter. Terminating Leases  The new owners may terminate an existing lease including, section 8 tenancies, if the new owner intends to move in with 90 days notice.
 

Archive Date  10/21/11

NEW RULES FOR WATER SUBMETERING
There are some new rules for tenants in the City of San Diego who pay a water bill when their unit has a submeter installed.  A submeter is a water meter installed by the Landlord, not the Water Department, to measure the tenant's specific water use.  As of June 1, 2010, leases must inform tenants about the submeter rules including any late or administrative fees and the name of the landlord or agent who will be doing the billing.  The submeter water bill presented to the tenant must also contain certain information.   See the full text of the law

APARTMENT RENTS TO RISE IN SAN DIEGO
According a USC forecast released on 3/7/2010 and reported by the
San Diego News Network, San Diego County is the only region in Southern California where apartment rents are expected to rise slightly this year by 0.7 percent.  Other regions like Los Angeles a Orange County are expected to see further declines in rents while others should remain flat.

NEW LEAD SAFE LAWS

Beginning April 22, 2010 a new law from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affects homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978.It requires contractors and maintenance professionals to be certified to handle renovations where lead based paint will be disturbed (6 square feet for interiors and 20 square feet for exteriors)  In addition, they must follow lead safe work practice standards. Full text of rule

Archive Date  2/22/11

ATTORNEY GENERAL EDMUND G. BROWN JR. HAS DEMANDED
THAT JP MORGAN CHASE HALT FORECLOSING ON CALIFORNIA HOMES UNLESS
IT CAN PROVE THAT IS COMPLYING WITH STATE LAW.

SEE THE LETTER
AND

Bank of America starts thaw in foreclosure freeze
Bank of America plans to resume 100K foreclosures in 23 states,
 suggesting thaw in freeze

Ally Financial extends foreclosure review to 50 states

Shock Therapy for Wall Street: JPMorgan Suspends
56,000 Foreclosures; GMAC and BOA Many More

Archive Date 1/14/11

FREDDIE MAC SUSPENDS EVICTIONS FOR
PART OF THE 2010 HOLIDAY SEASON

On December 1, 2010, Freddie Mac announced it has ordered all evictions
involving foreclosed occupied single family and 2-4 unit properties that had Freddie Mac
mortgages to be suspended from December 20, 2010 to January 3, 2011.

FANNIE MAE WILL ALSO SUSPEND EVICTIONS
Fannie Mae
has followed along with Freddie Mac in suspending evictions
during the period  from December 20, 2010 to January 3, 2011 for
properties with Fannie Mae held mortgages.

GOVERNOR SIGNS NEW FORECLOSURE
TENANT PROTECTION LAW

The Governor signed SB1149 into law on 9/30/10 taking effect on January 1, 2011. 
This law will protect tenants after a foreclosure in two important ways.

 First, it would help protect tenants' credit who were forced into an eviction action due to a foreclosure.  The law would mask an eviction action from the public (and credit reporting agencies) that was filed against the tenant unless the purchaser at the foreclosure (i.e. the  bank) obtained a favorable judgment "after a trial" within 60 days of its filing against all the tenant defendants.  If not, the case remains sealed from public view.   This allows tenants to defend themselves without fear of having their credit impacted by banks who file improper or abusive evictions. 
Second,  it will require the buyer of the rented home after a foreclosure (including the mortgage bank), to serve a special warning notice (within the first year after a sale) attached to the notice to vacate to the tenant who was renting at the time of the foreclosure sale .  It will state that an eviction will follow the notice and it warns about taking proper action to protect your rights.  Included in the notice is the following warning which we, at the Tenants Legal Center have been advising since 1993.
(see EVICTION DEFENSE and PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS) 
The new notice will say, in part,...
"You should talk to a lawyer NOW to see what your rights are. You may receive court papers in a few days. If your name is on the papers it may hurt your credit if you do not respond and simply move out. Also, if you do not respond within five days of receiving the papers, even if you are not named in the papers, you will likely lose any rights you may have. In some cases, you can respond without hurting your credit. You should ask a lawyer about it."  See page 4 of the new law. This notice law expires on 12/31/2012.
 

Archive Date 7/26/10

NOT ALL RESIDENTIAL LEASES MAY BE
PROTECTED UNDER THIS FEDERAL LAW

UPDATE - ON JULY 21, 2010 FEDERAL LAW CLARIFIED THAT ALL LEASES
ENTERED INTO PRIOR TO THE  SALE ARE PROTECTED

[The below was written before that law change]

Federal law now protects residential leases entered into before "the notice of foreclosure".  Unfortunately, in California, there is no law which specifies what is a  "notice of foreclosure. "  At the Tenants Legal Center, we have tried to advance the position that this "foreclosure" notice is the NOTICE OF TRUSTEE SALE.  This would protect all qualifying bona fide leases entered into up to that point.  The new owners/lenders claim the NOTICE OF DEFAULT (NOD) is that "foreclosure" notice.  They say that so that all leases entered into after that NOD may be voided by them (i.e. NOT protected by Federal Law).  California Appellate State courts have not clarified this as a precedent but at least one San Diego Superior Court Judge has ruled that the NOD is the "NOTICE OF FORECLOSURE" which means that in that case, the lease entered into after that NOD (and before the NOTICE OF SALE (NOS) was NOT protected by the Federal Law and an eviction could proceed on a 90 day notice.  While courts may rule either way, until the law is clarified, it is wise to take the more conservative route when signing a lease and take steps to protect yourself when a NOD has been recorded.

Therefore, to be more protected, tenants should check the public records in your County  (San Diego records)  before signing a lease to be sure there is no recorded  NOD .on that property   If there is one recorded, any lease entered into after that initial NOD
may be voided by the buyer.  That means the tenant may only be protected for up to 90 days after the sale regardless of the term of the lease.   If there is a NOD recorded, any lease signed afterwards may only be protected for up to 90 days.
[This law is set to expire on 12/31/2012]


Archive Date 2/16/10

APARTMENT RENTS INCH HIGHER
The vacancy rates dropped to 5 percent at local apartment complexes according to the San Diego County Apartment Association for its fall 2009 vacancy and rental rate survey of 38,207 apartments in 1,268 complexes and single-family rented homes.  The association said vacancy was down from 5.4 percent last spring.  The weighted average rent countywide was $1,189, compared  $1,188 a year ago.

NEW LAW TARGETS PHONY "LEGAL AID" OUTFITS
We have warned the public about "legal Aid" scam offices for years and have participated in the
investigation of these phony offices.  Now California just passed a law forbidding such practices.

AB 590  Business and Professions Code section 6159.52. 

"It is unlawful for any person or organization to use the
term "legal aid," "legal aide," or any confusingly similar name in
any firm name, trade name, fictitious business name, or any other
designation, or on any advertisement, letterhead, business card, or
sign, unless the person or organization is a legal aid organization
subject to fair use principles for nominative, descriptive,
or noncommercial use."

TENANTS GET MORE PROTECTION FROM UTILITY SHUTOFFS
 SB 120 has been signed by the Governor.  This bill provides notice and opportunity for tenants in rentals with unpaid utility bills to take over service and prevent shutoffs.  This is particularly important in foreclosure affected properties.  This law expires on July 1, 2010 unless extended or modified.

60 DAY NOTICE LAW EXTENDED
 SB 290, has been signed by the Governor.  The bill cancels the expiration of the  60-day notice requirement for  month to month tenancies of one year or longer.  Therefore, the 60 day notice law (Civil Code 1941.1) will continue to be the law and will not expire as it was originally going to on 12/31/09.  The Federal 90 day notice rule for tenancies after foreclosures still applies.(S.896)

APARTMENT MORTGAGE DELINQUENCIES ON THE INCREASE
Commercial loans delinquency rates, including those for apartment complexes, have more than doubled in the second quarter of 2009 over the first quarter.  There may be some increase in foreclosures for apartments but it is not expected to be what we have seen for private homes.  Banks seem more willing to work with commercial borrowers than homeowners in modifying loans to prevent a foreclosure. Tenants caught in these foreclosures have special problems including services being cut off including water and common area use electricity.

 

Archive Date 8/1/09

VACANCY RATE RISES AND RENTS DROP
FOR LARGER APARTMENT COMPLEXES

A recent survey by MarketPointe reported the vacancy rate at 5.29 percent in March 2009, up from 3.63 percent in March 2008 for apartment complexes surveyed with 25 or more units. This is the highest rate since 5.36 percent was reported in September 1994 at the depths of another major economic downturn.  The average monthly rent in March 2009 was $1,323, down 1.6 percent from $1,344 recorded in September 2008, the first decline in MarketPointe's 22 years of record keeping for San Diego area apartments.

NEW LAWS PROVIDE REMEDIES AND
PENALTIES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN RENTALS
Under certain conditions where a tenant was the victim an act of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, the tenant may terminate the tenancy by written notice to the landlord.. (The remaining tenants who were not victims of this conduct may still be held responsible under the rental agreement)  To prove such acts, the tenant must first obtain a Restraining Order or have made a Police Report.  Other conditions and restrictions apply.
If a tenant has committed any of these acts, that tenant may be given a 3 day notice to vacate the premises by the landlord..

SURVEY SHOWS RENTS SLIGHTLY DECREASED FOR LARGER APARTMENT COMPLEXES WHILE ANOTHER SURVEY SHOWS RENTS SLIGHTLY INCREASED FOR SMALLER APARTMENT COMPLEXES
In a survey taken by RealFacts of apartment complexes of 100 units or more, the rents have decreased slightly by less than 1 percent in the 4th quarter of 2008 compared with the 3rd quarter of 2008.  In a survey taken by MarketPoint, rents in complexes of 25 units or more have shown a slight increase in rent in September 2008 as compared with rents back in March of 2008 ($1,344.00 in September 2008 compared with $1,312.00 in March).  This points to a softening of rents for the larger (and probably also more expensive complexes).  Tenants seeking those accommodations may expect some incentives or other concessions not seen in the past few years.  Tenants seeking to rent apartments in smaller complexes or single houses may see slight rent increases.

EVICTIONS IN 2008 UP BY 15 PERCENT
Cmdr. Glenn Revell of the San Diego Sheriff's Department told the San Diego Union Tribune that he estimates Sheriff deputies will serve 8,625 eviction orders this year (2008), compared with 7,500 in 2007.  This represents an increase in Eviction Orders in 2008 of 15 percent over those served in 2007.  Contributing factors include the sagging economy coupled with the many occupants being forced from homes foreclosed on. 

Archive Date 1/23/09

RENTAL RATE INCREASES FLATTEN OUT
A recent survey by  RealFacts of complexes of over 100 units said that rents have risen in the third quarter of 2008 by less than 1% to an average monthly rent of $1,405.00.  MarketPoint Realty Advisors also conducted a survey of complexes with 25 or more units and found similar results.  While rent increases now appear to be somewhat flat, the value of many homes have fallen dramatically in the past and many continue to slide.  

FORECLOSURES PUSHING UP RENTS
A recent survey by MarketPoint Realty Advisors said that rents have risen and vacancies have been dropping.  They cite the increase in demand for rentals caused by the high incidents of foreclosures in San Diego County. 

NEW 60 DAY NOTICE LAW FOR
FORECLOSURE AFFECTED TENANTS

On July 8, 2008, Code of Civil Procedure section 1161b was signed into law.  This law provides that a tenant or subtenant in possession of rental housing at the time of a foreclosure sale is now entitled to a 60 day notice instead of 30 days under old law.  This will not apply if any party on the note remains in the property as a tenant, subtenant, or occupant. This law expires on 12/31/2012.

NEW LAW REQUIRING NOTICE TO TENANTS
IN HOME BEING FORECLOSED ON

Civil Code section 2924.8 now requires the following notice to be placed on residential property being sold at foreclosure.

"Foreclosure process has begun on this property, which may affect your right to continue to live in this property. Twenty days or more after the date of this notice, this property may be sold at foreclosure. If you are renting this property, the new property owner may either give you a new lease or rental agreement or provide you with a 60-day eviction notice. However, other laws may prohibit an eviction in this circumstance or provide you with a longer notice before eviction. You may wish to contact a lawyer or your local legal aid or housing counseling agency to discuss any rights you may have."
 This law only applies to loans secured by residential real property, and if the billing address for the mortgage note is different than the property address.  This law expires on 12/31/2012.

Archive Date 9/28/08

RENTS RISING
2008 FALL SURVEY
According to a recent San Diego County Apartment Association survey, the average monthly rents in San Diego have increased by 3% over the Association's 2007 Fall Survey. The current vacancy rate, they say, is 4.8% as compared to 3.4% last year at this time.  They believe that perhaps the vacancy rate has been affected by many tenants leaving larger apartments to rent a single family home.  Also, there is increased competition among landlords since many condos that were converted and not sold were returned to apartment status and put up for rent.  As an additional factor, the rentals closer to city centers will be more desirable since commuting is now be a
cost factor due to high gasoline prices.

Archive Date 6/6/08

SUPPORT FOR MARTI EMERALD
San Diego City Council Candidate

We congratulate Marti Emerald on the strong favorable voter support she received in her bid for San Diego City Council.  Over many years, she has demonstrated her ability to be a dedicated and thoughtful community servant and we are confident she would represent her district and the City of San Diego well.  We continue to endorse her candidacy as she heads toward a run-off election in November.

RENTS RISING
According to a recent Market Pointe Realty Advisors survey, the average monthly rents in San Diego have increased by 4% in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same first quarter in 2007.  They surveyed 114,681 units and the "average" rent they say is now $1,387.00 for this period.  Contributing factors for this increase are believed to be from increased demand for rentals caused by foreclosures and the lack of sales of homes.
 

Archive Date 3/15/08

CITY OF SAN DIEGO PASSES MINI DORM ORDINANCE
The new ordinance is aimed at restricting or limiting regular single family houses from being turned into high density "mini-dorms"  This law would require owners of homes with six or more adult occupants to apply for $1,000 annual permits. The permits would require parking spaces for all but one adult.  The law was supported by many neighbors who have complained about parties, trash and noise brought about by the higher density housing in caused by these mini dorms. 

VACANCY RATE DECREASING
According to a RentalTrends report dated September 19, 2007, released by MarketPointe Realty Advisors, the vacancy rate in San Diego dropped dramatically to 2.58 percent.  There are many reasons for this including fewer new units being built and an economic expansion in the County.  Tightening of the home loan market means fewer people can buy so they enter the rental market.  All these factors ultimately mean more people competing for fewer rentals.  More demand and less supply translates to an upward pressure on rents.

FORECLOSURES IMPACTING THE RENTAL MARKET
According to DataQuick, San Diego county had a record 2,896 foreclosures In the first half of 2007 compared with only 445 during the first half of 2006. (551 percent increase).  For the second quarter of 2007, the amount of foreclosure sales in San Diego increased to nearly 10 percent of all resales.  It was just 1.7 percent of resales only a year ago.  This means that there are many former homeowners who are being forced to rent and thus increasing the demand for rentals.  Some have never rented while others are returning to being a tenant after a short experience as a homeowner.  This increased demand may contribute to rising rents as these "new" tenants look for an apartment or other type of rental to be their new home.
 
RENTS RISING
According to a recent RealFacts survey, the average monthly rents in San Diego for apartment complexes with more than 100 units rose 5.4% during the second quarter (April - June) in 2007.  The "average" rent they say is now 1,345.00 for this period.  Contributing factors for this increase are believed to be from increased demand caused by foreclosures and failed condo conversion sales.
 

Archive Date 1/2/08

WILDFIRES DISPLACE MANY FROM THEIR HOMES
The Wildfires in San Diego County in October 2007 have impacted and displaced many residents in San Diego County.  Some affected residents may be able to return to their homes while sadly, some may not.  We need not reiterate the statistics which have become mind numbing as to the number of structures damaged or lost and people forced to move from their homes.  This is the time that residents rely on family, friends, community and Insurance to assist in returning to normal lives.  Many tenants will be forced to move from their rentals.  Renter's insurance will be of great assistance here.  For others, their property may be lost by fire, smoke or water damage.  Without insurance, there is little available other than government programs to assist.  Under California Law, a landlord is generally not responsible for the tenant's losses from these fires.  There may be some claim available, however, if the landlord failed to take recommended or otherwise obvious fire protection precautions.  Also, under law, absent a lease provision to the contrary, the destruction of a premises generally terminates the lease.  Repairable rentals are a different situation.  Here, a landlord must make the repairs to the rental unit for the tenant during a lease while a month to month tenancy may be terminated.  Also, what about the time waiting for the repair?  These are complex issues which need to and will be sorted out as time progresses.  Hopefully, landlords and tenants can work together to resolve these issues.  If not, legal assistance and perhaps even the courts will be needed. 
California State Govt. Information

Federal Response to the Wildfires

UNLAWFUL PROFITEERING FROM WILDFIRES
Penal Code Section 396, became immediately effective after the state of emergency was declared on October 21, 2007.  It became unlawful for 30 days to charge a price that exceeds, by more than 10% of the price before the declaration of emergency for any consumer food items or goods, goods or services used for emergency cleanup, emergency supplies, medical supplies, home heating oil, building materials, housing, transportation, freight, and storage services, or gasoline or other motor fuels.   "Housing" is defined as month to month tenancies PC 396(h) (10).  Violators of this  statute are subject to criminal prosecutions and civil penalties.  Of course, there are limitations and exceptions to this law depending on the situation.

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 NEW LAW PROTECTS TENANTS AND LANDLORDS
REGARDING LEGAL RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS

AB 976 (to be known as California Civil Code section 1940.3) was signed into law prohibiting local governments from passing laws requiring landlords to check residency status of tenants.  This prevents laws from being created forcing landlords to enforce immigration laws through their renting policies.  Prior to AB 976, many landlords expressed their concern because they did not want to be forced to become "immigration police."  This law also makes it illegal for a landlord to make inquiry of the tenant's residency status or require a statement (including any papers) to be shown regarding such status (except to assess financial qualifications or to prove identity)

 

Archive Date 9/22/07

VACANCY RATE RISING?
According to a survey conducted by the San Diego County Apartment Association, their
Spring 2007 Vacancy & Rental Rate Survey found a 5.1 percent countywide vacancy rate, compared with 3.1 percent in its fall survey. The vacancy rate a year ago was reported at 3.4 percent. This survey included rental data from members of the association so many other rental properties in the County were not included.  Higher vacancy rates mean that we may see some relief to rising rents as well as seeing an increase in move-in specials and incentives.

Archive Date 7/20/07

RENTS RISING
According to a recent RealFacts survey, the average monthly rents in San Diego for apartment complexes with more than 100 units rose from $1,261.00 to $1,327.00 for the first quarter of 2007.

VACANCY RATE HIGHEST SINCE 1995
According to a recent MarketPointe Realty Advisors survey, the vacancy rate in San Diego for apartment complexes of at least 20 units rose to their highest levels since 1995!  The vacancy rate is reported to be 4.5% as of March 2007 compared with 3.8% a year ago.  The average rent still rose $50.00/month from a year ago.  The average rent now stands at $1,261.00

Archive Date 3/21/07

ESCONDIDO ABANDONS ORDINANCE AGAINST
UNDOCUMENTED PERSONS

Escondido CA passed an ordinance prohibiting landlords from renting to "illegal aliens."
On 11/16/06 a Federal Court issued a temporary injunction against the implementation of the ordinance ruling that it appears to violate Federal Law.  On 12/13/06, The city of Escondido issued a statement declaring it will not pursue any attempt to put this ordinance into effect. 

RENTS RISING
According to a recent MarketPointe Realty Advisors survey, rents in San Diego County increased by 3.81% in the last year (September to September) Our rents are 2.47% higher in September than they were in March 2006. The apartment vacancy rate has dropped to 1.84% from 3% only six months ago. This survey looks at complexes of 25 units or more.  The San Diego County Apartment Association released it's survey on 12/12/06 declaring a 5.8% increase in rents over the previous year.

 RENTER ASSISTANCE REFUNDS
Annual Program Provides Financial Aid to Many Seniors and Disabled
Assemblyman Jay La Suer (La Mesa) announced the beginning of the 2006 Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program, an annual effort to provide financial assistance to many seniors, as well as the blind and disabled. Qualifying individuals may apply to the Franchise Tax Board for refunds. You may qualify for Homeowner or Renter Assistance even though you are not required to file a State income tax return.
Seniors may request an application form by contacting the Franchise Tax Board at
(800) 868-4171 or on the web at www.ftb.ca.gov.

Archive Date 9/22/06

RENT INCREASES FOR SAN DIEGO AT 3%
According to a RealFacts survey, rents in San Diego County increased only 3% (annualized) in the second quarter of 2006 compared with the same period in 2005.  San Francisco, showed a 6.0% increase, L.A. was 6.8%  and San Bernardo/Riverside 5.7%.  The average rent here was $1,276 as of June, 2006

Archive Date 7/19/06

RENT INCREASES FOR SAN DIEGO FLAT AT 3.1%
According to a RealFacts survey, rents in San Diego County increased only 3.1% in the first quarter of 2006 compared with the same period in 2005.  San Francisco, showed a 5.0%increase, L.A. was 6.7%  and San Bernardo/Riverside 7.3%.  The average rent here is $1,261 as of March 31, 2006

Archive Date 4/20/06

RENT INCREASES BELOW STATE AVERAGE
Statewide rents have risen an average of 4.7% in 2005 while San Diego rents increased by 3.3%.  Some higher rent moving areas were L.A. where rents jumped 6.6% and San Bernardino which saw a 7.3% increase.   Vacancy rates for San Diego increased by only 0.3%.   The average rent across San Diego County was $1,254.00 compared to the State average of $1,271.00  (according to a RealFacts survey)

Archive Date 1/2/06

BILLING FOR WATER USE
Many landlords are taking advantage of the lack of consumer protection laws regarding billing tenants for water use without knowing how much water the tenant actually used.  The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled that they cannot regulate unfair water billing practices leaving the matter for the legislature (and then the courts) to take some action.

90 DAY NOTICE FOR SECTION 8 TENANCIES
On 6/13/05 the California Supreme Court ruled in the case of Wasatch Property Management v. Degrate that a landlord who terminates a tenancy agreement with a tenant who is on the Section 8 program where the eviction is not for cause  (i.e. rules violations etc.) is required to give that tenant a 90 days� notice to quit. 

Archive Date  9/26/05

INCREASED PROTECTIONS FOR
MILITARY SERVICE MEMBERS
On  December 19, 2003, President Bush signed into law the �Servicemembers Civil Relief Act� (SCRA). This law is a complete revision of the Soldiers� and Sailors� Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) which provided protection to certain members of the military facing hardship brought about by their service. Many of these situations can be handled by the appropriate military legal service office or the service member may seek assistance from civilian attorneys.  At the Tenants Legal Center, we are proud to have assisted many of our military service member neighbors.

RENT INCREASE RATE SLOWING
In October 2004, rents were climbing at about 3.2 percent per year.  The average rent as of 9/30/04 was approximately $1,210.00 per month.

In April 2005, another survey (from RealFacts) indicated that the rate of rent increase has slowed from 3.2 percent to 2.7 percent (compared to the first three months of last year)  This is less than the statewide average increase of 3.3 percent.  RealFacts claims the average rent for this first quarter of 2005 was $1,222.00.

There are many opportunities for tenants for reduced rent, move-in specials and other incentives.  Of course, some landlords will still charge higher rent for those with bad credit or evictions on their record.  Therefore, to get the best deals, protect your rights.

FREE CREDIT REPORTS FOR CALIFORNIANS
Having good credit may mean the difference between getting accepted or rejected when applying for a rental.   The first step to protecting or improving your credit is obtaining a credit report to evaluate your situation.  Now you can do that once a year for free.  You can request a free report by telephone at 877-322-8228 or online but check out some consumer warnings before making that request online.


TENANTS RECEIVE MORE PROTECTION FOR
"COMPANION" ANIMALS
 A recent court ruling will help many disabled tenants who require animals for companions.  The court ruling said that companion animals may now receive the same protection as guide or service animals. 
This means that under certain conditions, a tenant may be allowed to keep a companion animal even in a no pet building (since the animal is not a "pet)

Original draft of the Ordinance - part one
Original draft of the Ordinance - part two

Many tenants receive 30/60 day notices for no "good faith" reason at all.  Some are being abused by discrimination or retaliation.  Unfortunately, the burden to prove those violations is on the tenant and they are not easy things to prove.  Many tenants are being evicted because they may be having personality conflicts with the resident manager.  Should tenants need to humiliate themselves just to be in the manager's good graces to protect their home?  Should tenants be afraid to speak up about the conditions in their rental?  We think not.  A person should not be evicted from their home without a good reason and they should be told any such reason in a notice to move.   The Tenants Legal Center drafted a proposed good cause eviction ordinance and presented it to the Affordable Housing Task Force for their consideration. 

On May 29, 2003, that ordinance was debated and voted on by the Task Force.  It was approved with the only change that a tenant must reside at the unit for two years before good cause must be put in an eviction notice.  ( The original version we proposed had no waiting period.) 

On November 5, 2003 the matter went to the Land Use and Housing Committee for their vote.  The Tenants Legal Center addressed the committee and argued in support of the proposed Good Cause Ordinance.  Many landlords also addressed the committee and argued in opposition to the ordinance.  The Good Cause Eviction protection ordinance (now called the Tenant's Right to Know law) was hotly debated with a forceful presentation by both sides on this issue.   The Committee voted 4-1 in favor of approving the law.

On March 16, 2004 the proposed law went to the full City Council for their vote where it was again hotly debated.  The opposition (landlords) spoke from 10:00 a.m. to the lunch break and resumed at 2::00 p.m. and did not finish until about 4:30 p.m.  Then the proponents of the ordinance spoke along with testimony from the Tenants Legal Center, the San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP), with support from the Affordable Housing Coalition, ACORN and many others.  We spoke collectively for less than one hour.  Afterwards, some council members commented, specifically called upon certain individuals for further comment, including Steven R. Kellman from the Tenants Legal Center.  The Council then voted in favor of the new law.
The ordinance has taken effect on APRIL 29, 2004.  With few exceptions, this new law covers most residential tenancies.  It does not cover commercial tenancies.

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 California law for San Diego is applied in these archived Updates.  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.