Increased safeguards from eviction for calling 911 & responding to domestic violence in rental units
California lawmakers believe tenants should be able to call for emergency assistance without fear of losing their home. This ushered into law Assembly Bill 2413, the Right to a Safe Home act, which strengthens protections for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, among others, who need to call for help.
Prior to the bill, there were nuisance or crime-free ordinances on the books that often penalized landlords and renters for making too many calls to the police, and these local rules could force landlords to evict tenants who have done nothing wrong. The new state law:
(1) protects a broader set of individuals who need to call for police or emergency assistance from penalties such as eviction;
(2) provides an eviction defense for tenants being evicted for calling for emergency assistance;
(3) establishes that state law supersedes local laws that penalize landlords and tenants due to emergency calls;
(4) improves documentation options for survivors who need to demonstrate abuse in the context of defending an eviction.
Tenants cannot and should not be evicted for calling 911, but we hasten to point out that the calls may be indicative of behaviors that could be a “nuisance.” Put differently, calling for help is not a nuisance, but the underlying actions may reveal a pattern of menacing behavior that may be grounds for an unlawful detainer (eviction) action, and so the new law is not a blank check for tenants to engage in violence, drug dealing, and other activities that interfere with other tenants, who have a right to quiet enjoyment of their apartment. Let's talk a little bit about domestic violence.
It's been said that home is where the heart is, but what happens when the heart is broken and strife spills into other units?
One of a landlord's chief responsibilities is to provide a safe dwelling, and so they cannot turn a blind eye to any instances of domestic violence.
If there is a foreseeable threat in a rental unit and someone gets hurt, the owner faces significant liability if they failed to correct the aggression. Serving a 3-Day Notice to Quit may be advisable if domestic violence rears its ugly head.
In our many years of legally transitioning tenants out of rental units, we've been inserted in many difficult situations and domestic violence ranks as one of the most gut-wrenching.
No matter what the circumstances are, you can rely on the landlord allies at MT Evictions to ensure all of the paperwork is in order, deadlines are met, and common pitfalls avoided. Contact our office to get started.