Housing Inspection Bill Advances

by Mark Gomez, ACORN California on April 23, 2004

SB 1634, an ACORN sponsored tenant measure, passed committee by 5 to 1 after riveting testimony from two renters Joya Shelton and Estela Astudillo who were also ACORN members and member political liaison Chris Jones. Forty ACORN leaders from across California attended the hearing and lobbied legislators.

The bill, SB 1634 authored by Senator Richard Alarcon gives building inspectors and renters the tools to get tough on slumlords who put hard working families’ health at risk. The bill enables housing inspectors to issue immediate citations for housing code violations that immediately threaten renters’ health. The bill would also ensure renters receive copies of all inspector’s notices. These notices will detail renter’s legal rights and their apartment owner business address.

While San Francisco tenants are accustomed to getting copies of Notices of Violation from inspectors, this is not the case in most of California. For example, tenants in Oakland are rarely informed that an inspector has cited their building, and routinely encounter major obstacles to getting copies of citations even for conditions in their own apartments. The lack of access to notices can deprive tenants of learning of their right to avoid paying rent, as the ACORN-backed revision to Civil Code 1942.4 now prevents landlords from collecting rent where notices of violation are outstanding for 35 days.

For additional information, please contact:
ACORN California Campaign Director, Mark Gomez at 510-434-3122

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