2012-05-24 "Landlords cannot evict tenants without good cause from publicly subsidized low-income housing" by Lynda Carson
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com
Housing News -- A recent stunning court victory for an elderly 70 year old disabled "tenant activist" named Sharon Green, has resulted in a huge court victory against evictions throughout California. Evictions that often result in homelessness for residents of so-called affordable housing units, that are being subsidized by local governments.
According to the National Housing Law Project, "The California Court of Appeal for the Second District held that constitutional due process applies to an eviction from a housing unit supported by a redevelopment agency, prohibiting the tenant’s eviction without good cause."
In other words, landlords in California cannot evict renters residing in publicly subsidized housing that is funded by local governments, without a good cause, according to a unanimous ruling from the California Court of Appeal.
According to the April 23, California Court of Appeal ruling, this means that in addition to large cities that struggled hard to enact "just cause eviction protections," such as Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, low-income renters in publicly subsidized housing that is funded by local governments in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and throughout cities and rural areas of California, are now also protected by just cause eviction protections.
The stunning court ruling reversed an eviction against the 70 year-old disabled activist, who believed that her eviction was done in retaliation for exercising her protected rights of free speech, freedom of association, and her right to petition the government.
Ms. Green wants to return home as soon as possible; "My cat and I have survived rain, snow, lightening and extreme cold," she said. "Everyday is a struggle with the elements, or the predators and insects. We both just want to go home."
After being wrongly evicted over 2 years ago, Ms. Green has been exposed to harsh weather, and has lived in a tent at times, and sometimes in a run down trailer at different campgrounds.
She originally moved into the 157 unit Heritage Oaks Senior Apartments in Glendora in 2007, and during 2009, Ms. Green fought back against a 90 Day Notice To Quit. It was an eviction notice that did not give a reason for the eviction, and she lost against the eviction in court, but won the case upon appeal. Ms. Green believed that she could not be evicted without a good cause, and according to the ruling by the California Court of Appeal for the Second District, she was right.
The Heritage Oaks Senior Apartments affordable housing complex is subsidized by the City of Glendora, and the attorneys for Ms. Green believe that there was a pattern of retaliatory evictions against tenants at the housing complex, for making complaints with the city against the management company of the property (Anchor Pacifica Management Company).
Ms. Green was active in her building, and lobbied city officials for better conditions, and sought more subsidies to assist the tenants in her housing complex, during a time that the city was trying to eliminate the rent subsidies given to tenants in her building. The Redevelopment Agency planned to cut off subsidies to each apartment that became vacant. Getting rid of Ms. Green, meant that the Agency would save money.
Since Ms. Green always payed her rent, and did not receive any notices for lease violations, her attorneys believed that she faced retaliation for exerting her constitutionally protected rights, and for trying to convince the city to keep subsidizing the rents in her building.
According to the attorneys for Ms. Green, the court of appeal ruled that the receipt of rent subsidies and other assistance from Glendora's Redevelopment Agency meant that Heritage Oaks Senior Apartments, is a joint venture with the City to further the governments roll of providing affordable housing to those in need. Therefore, both the state and federal constitution gave the tenants a property right that could not be terminated without a good reason.
The court reversed the eviction because the landlord did not have a good cause reason to evict Ms. Green at the time of her eviction. This ruling may affect over 150,000 rental units receiving subsidies by local governments throughout California.
"This ruling is significant because it requires private landlords receiving local, public money to give very-low and low-income families the stability they need to get jobs and raise their families," said Maria Palomares of Neighborhood Legal Services, who argued the case on behalf of the legal aid groups. "It extends critical protections to tenants of city-subsidized housing."
A May 15, 2012, press release tells how Ms. Green lived in harsh weather after being wrongly evicted from her housing, and mentions that Ms. Green had legal assistance from her attorney's Maria Palomares, and Andrew Radel of the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, including attorney Jolene Larimore, and legal assistance from the Western Center on Law and Poverty, with additional legal assistance from Catherine Bishop of the National Housing Law Project, and the Coalition for Economic Survival.