SAN DIEGO – Following the expiration of San Diego’s no-fault eviction protection, landlords can now terminate their tenants’ lease agreements without cause or fault. Because of this, city leaders are now trying to step in before anyone ends up without a home.
The San Diego City Council adopted a temporary ban on residential “no fault” evictions, proposed by City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera. It took effect on May 22, 2022 and ended September 30, 2022. The local law banned “no fault” eviction cases in the city, meaning a landlord could not evict a tenant for any reason that does not involve any nonpayment of rent, or violation of a lease agreement.
A “no fault” eviction occurs when a landlord ends a lease with the tenant for reasons that do not involve any alleged nonpayment of rent, wrongful behavior or lease violation by the tenant.
Because the moratorium has ended, backlogged eviction cases that had been paused in courts over the summer are now resuming this week. While city council suggests they’re looking for ways to strengthen tenant protection, eviction attorneys argue the city’s actions have put and will continue to place their landlord clients at a disadvantage.
“They have not been able to utilize their property even though they’ve owned it, they’ve paid taxes, they made the investment,” said Roseanna Miani, an eviction attorney representing clients throughout San Diego County.
On the other side of the debate, Gilberto Vera, a senior housing attorney with Legal Aid Society of San Diego, suggests the expiration on San Diego’s no-fault protection takes a much larger toll on the tenant, forcing the renter into a competitive and expensive housing market amid record high inflation.
“It’s making it more difficult in this hyper competitive rental market for tenants on a fixed income, disabled and elderly who are regularly receiving government assistance,” Vera said.
This comes right on the heels of the county declaring homelessness a public health crisis. City Council President Sean Elo-Rivea in a statement tells FOX 5:
“Housing is a fundamental human need and the foundation for a stable life. San Diego is in the midst of a housing affordability and related homelessness crisis. As a community, we cannot afford to have families who are making their rent payments and abiding by their leases forced out of their homes. Unfortunately, we are hearing that some predatory apartment owners are circling tenants like sharks wanting to evict them just so they can take advantage of the market and jack up the rent. That is all the evidence that anyone should need as to why tenant protections need to be strengthened. Our office is working to strengthen tenant protections as soon as possible.”
Daniel Marshall with Marshall Law tells FOX 5 his number of clientele skyrocketed since May, working 12 eviction cases in the past week.
“This was basically trying to delay the inevitable, which is when people do not pay rent to the small landlord in particular, it’s unfair and they’re gonna lose their properties,” Marshall said.
He argues the repercussions of the no fault moratorium will hurt the tenant long term.
“There’s a tsunami of evictions and because of these moratoriums and other laws, they’re just suppressing it back,” Marshall said.
For tenants who have any questions in regard to their legal rights, the city encourages tenants to call these numbers:
- Legal Aid Society of San Diego at (877)-534-2524.
- San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (SDVLP) at (619)-235-5656 x 127
- Tenants Legal Center at (858)-571-7100
Tenants call also visit the city’s Housing and Tenant Protection page on their website.