Chiu Legislation to Protect Crime Victims from Evictions Receives Key Support

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

SACRAMENTO—An effort lead by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to help prevent victims of abuse or other crimes from being evicted passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee today. Assembly Bill 2413 would give victims of crimes and residents experiencing emergencies added protections against nuisance ordinance-related evictions. 

“No one should have to choose between calling 911 or being able to stay in their home,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “This bill will ensure victims of crime or abuse can seek the emergency services they need while remaining secure in their housing.”  

Local jurisdictions across the state have nuisance ordinances that allow tenants to be labeled as a nuisance if the rental property is the site of a certain number of police or emergency calls. Being labeled a nuisance is cause for eviction. These ordinances put crime victims or victims of abuse in the dangerous predicament of having to endure a life-threatening emergency without help or face the possibility of eviction.

California does have some laws that protect survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, and elder abuse from nuisance evictions. However, the threshold required by these laws is far too burdensome to be effective as tenants must show a police report or a restraining order to receive protections. It is widely documented that most instances of abuse or domestic violence go unreported. Current laws also do not apply to victims of other crimes who require emergency assistance.

AB 2413 would expand the list of protected tenants to include victims of other crimes and individuals experiencing emergency situations. The bill will also give tenants additional ways to document abuse outside of a police report or restraining order, and the legislation will ensure that protections afforded under this potential law supercede local ordinances.  

Nuisance evictions disproportionately impact women and low-income communities of color. Combined with the fact that violence against women is a leading cause of homelessness among women, the phenomenon of survivors being evicted for seeking help in an emergency is exacerbating California’s housing and homelessness crises.  The National Housing Law Project and the Women’s Policy Institute, Women’s Foundation of California are co-sponsoring AB 2413.

"No one should have to choose between their safety and keeping their home,” said Shamus Roller, Executive Director of the National Housing Law Project. “The Right to a Safe Home Act protects tenants and landlords from being penalized by local nuisance and crime-free laws when a tenant reasonably seeks assistance from law enforcement or emergency services. It is time that California joins the growing number of states that prohibit these discriminatory laws that harm people like domestic violence survivors and individuals with disabilities."

“Everyone should be able to call for help without fear of losing their home,” said Linh Tran-Phuong, a fellow at the Women’s Policy Institute, Women’s Foundation of California. “However, nuisance ordinances throughout the state have forced individuals and families to choose between calling for help in emergency situations and risking eviction or sustaining harm to keep their home. With more than 130,000 individuals and families experiencing homelessness in California, we need to do everything we can as a state to keep folks in their homes.  AB 2413, the Right to A Safe Home Act, will allow every Californian to call for help without fear of losing their home. The bill will address current gaps in California law by protecting individuals in emergency situations and survivors of various crimes from eviction under nuisance ordinances and will address the state’s current homelessness crisis by keeping folks in their homes.”

AB 2413 will now continue on to the Assembly Floor for a full vote of the body.