By Michelle Luellen/ALC
Just as we start to think that maybe foreclosure crisis is beginning to improve in California, the California State Assembly threatens to pass AB 1513. If passed, AB 1513 would create a legal loophole for extra- judicial eviction. Property owners would no longer have to take people to court to have tenants removed from their houses.
Under changes to law proposed by AB 1513, a property owner who claims that the house was empty of residents at the time they came to own it, can remove all residents who are not specifically named on a lease simply by declaring them to be “Unlawful Occupants,” claiming that they do not have permission to be there.
Not simply a bill to address tenants living in foreclosed homes, AB 1513 could seriously jeopardize tenants who have no protection of a written lease agreement. AB 1513 could allow slumlords to evict their tenants simply by stating to the police department of their local jurisdiction that their tenant was an “unlawful occupant,” nullifying the tenant’s constitutionally protected due process.
According to attorney Marc Whitham of Tenant Defenders, AB1513 is poorly crafted and ill-advised legislation. It is unclear why the bill is being offered at all. On its face it is confusing and contradictory. Even when viewed in the most generous light, AB1513 invites myriad problems. It would place law enforcement officials at the beck and call of landlords who are willing to assert a claim of right to possession of property, but who are, for whatever reason, unwilling to submit their claims through the legal system.
Since landlords are already able to speedily recover possession of real property through available procedures and have a wide variety of attorneys at their disposal, there is good reason to expect that if AB1513 is passed into law, it will be used chiefly by scoundrels and scofflaws.
Please do not allow scoundrels and scofflaws to evict people from their homes with no due process.
The California Assembly Judicial Committee is scheduled to vote on AB 1513 on April 29th. Please don’t let this bill pass the committee and move to the full State Assembly. Click here to learn more about the bill.
Click here to sign the petition.
Please call your Assemblymember to voice your opinion about AB 1513. Click here to find out who your assemblymember is.
Michelle Luellen, Policy Analyst at Asociacion de Liderazgo Comunitario (ALC). The San Diego Tenants Association is a program of Asociacion de Liderazgo Comuntario. ALC works to strengthen a holistic leadership process through education and organizing in the San Diego region. To find out more about ALC, please go to www.commleader.org