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SB 529, a bill to protect renters during rent strikes
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Thursday Mar 7th, 2019 7:01 PM
Just try to imagine how life may be for the renters of Oakland being oppressed by bad landlords and slumlords if they formed "tenant associations" in an effort to conduct “rent strikes" without fear of eviction!
SB 529, a bill to protect renters during rent strikes

By Lynda Carson - March 7, 2019

Oakland - Oakland is the town of bad landlords charging Rolls Royce prices for slumlords rental locations. According to Rent Cafe for February of 2019, “The average rent for an apartment in Oakland is $2,624, a 7% increase compared to the previous year, when the average rent was $2,455.”

The landlords and slumlords are making their fortunes in this town. When they obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for their rental units, often many landlords believe that they have a license to steal from the renters in as many ways as is possible.

SB 529, a bill to protect renters during rent strikes:

On February 21, 2019, California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, introduced SB 529, a bill allowing tenant groups/tenant associations, after a majority vote, to withhold rent payments for up to 30 days in response to grievances or complaints against bad landlords, or slumlords.

Apparently, the recently introduced bill (SB 529) would allow "tenant associations" to conduct "rent strikes" without fear of eviction. If passed into law it would be a great help for renters against the bad landlords, and slumlords of Oakland.

Additionally, if passed into law: "The bill would require the landlord, within specified time periods, to provide the tenant association with a written response to that notice, meet and confer in good faith with representatives of the tenant association, and provide a written statement of what, if any, changes the landlord will make in response to those grievances or complaints. If the landlord fails to strictly comply with these requirements, the bill would provide that payment of the withheld rent by those tenants is waived."

Just try to imagine how life may be for the renters of Oakland being oppressed by bad landlords and slumlords if they formed "tenant associations" in an effort to conduct “rent strikes" without fear of eviction.

If SB 529 was passed into law years ago, the renters of Oakland would have had much better protections to fight back with “rent strikes” against the owners or former owners of 2551 San Pablo, or the Empyrean Towers, the West Grand Hotel, the Hillside Apartments, or against some alleged slumlords including Elizabeth Ann Williams, or Richard Singer, or Alice Tse the former owner of Empyrean Towers, or Hong Gardner and John Gardner.

SB 529, a bill to protect renters during rent strikes::

SB 529, as introduced, by Senator Maria Elena Durazo. Tenant associations: eviction for cause: withholding payment of rent.

According to SB 529:

“Existing law makes it unlawful for a lessor to engage in specified activities for the purpose of influencing a tenant to vacate a dwelling, including using, or threatening to use, force, willful threats, or menacing conduct that interferes with the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the premises and that would create an apprehension of harm in a reasonable person. Existing law prohibits a lessor from retaliating against a lessee because the lessee has lawfully organized or participated in a lessees’ association or an organization advocating lessees’ rights or has lawfully and peaceably exercised any rights under the law by increasing rent, decreasing services, causing a lessee to quit involuntarily, bringing an action to recover possession, or from threatening to do any of those acts. A lessor who violates this latter provision is liable to the lessee for actual damages and, under certain circumstances, punitive damages.

This bill would declare that tenants have the right to form, join, and participate in the activities of a tenant association, subject to any restrictions as may be imposed by law, or to refuse to join or participate in the activities of a tenant association. The bill would define “tenant association” for these purposes and require a tenant association under these provisions to adopt bylaws or implement an operating agreement for purposes of its internal governance. The bill would prohibit a landlord from terminating or refusing to renew a residential tenancy in a rental unit, as defined, occupied by a member of a tenant association subject to these provisions, except for cause. The bill would require any landlord who attempts to terminate a tenancy pursuant to these provisions to provide the tenant a written notice to quit or terminate that recites the grounds on which the landlord is proceeding.

The bill would authorize members of a tenant association, by a majority vote, to withhold rent payments for up to 30 days in response to grievances or complaints with the landlord. The bill would require a tenant exercising the right to withhold payment of rent to purchase a money order or cashier’s check to pay the withheld rent, as provided, and provide the landlord with a written notice containing specified information. The bill would require the landlord, within specified time periods, to provide the tenant association with a written response to that notice, meet and confer in good faith with representatives of the tenant association, and provide a written statement of what, if any, changes the landlord will make in response to those grievances or complaints. If the landlord fails to strictly comply with these requirements, the bill would provide that payment of the withheld rent by those tenants is waived. The bill would limit the amount of times a tenant association could initiate proceedings to withhold payment of rent under these provisions per calendar year.

The bill would provide that a landlord who retaliates against a tenant for exercising the tenant’s right to join, form, or participate in the activities of a tenant association, or who otherwise violates any of the above-described provisions of the bill, is liable to the tenant in a civil action for actual damages, injunctive relief, and, in specified circumstances, punitive damages. The bill would also make a landlord’s violation of, or noncompliance with, these provisions an affirmative defense in any action by a landlord to recover possession of a rental unit. In an action for damages, the bill would require the court to award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party if either party requests attorney’s fees upon the initiation of the action. The bill would specify that these remedies are in addition to any other remedies available by law.”

If passed into law, SB 529 would be good for the renters of Oakland, including the renters throughout the State of California.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com

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§Empyrean Towers: Singer vs. Tse (No. A145599)
by Posted by Lynda Carson Thursday Mar 7th, 2019 8:57 PM
Empyrean Towers: Singer vs. Tse (No. A145599)

Singer vs. Tse (No. A145599)

RICHARD SINGER et al., Cross-complainants and Respondents, v. ALICE TSE, Defendant and Appellant.

Court of Appeals of California, First District, Division Four.
Filed April 10, 2018.

In part it reads:

[ Attached to Tse's declaration was a news article from SF BayView, entitled "Mass evictions at Oakland's Empyrean Towers."4 The article described Singer's history with the Property, his conviction, and earlier litigation regarding habitability issues at the Property. The article then reported the following: "[A]ccording to public records with `corporation wiki,' Richard Singer has partnered with real estate broker Alice Tse to own and manage the building through Empyrean Towers LLC and Innovistech Realty Co. [¶] As a real estate broker, Alice Tse has been buying properties for Singer for a number of years and she called me a few times around the beginning of 2014. [¶]

Over the phone Alice Tse stated a few times that she was buying properties for Singer, and that she was very concerned about Singer's activities. Then on Feb. 21, 2014, I received a strange email from Alice Tse [] that said: `I have a new fraud case committed by Richard Singer who attempted to burn down [the Property]. Please call me. . . .' [¶] I tried calling a few times but Alice did not respond to my call, and I wondered what happened. Only lately did I learn that she is partners at the Empyrean Towers with Richard Singer." The article then went to describe the plight of various tenants who were facing eviction at the Property and concluded with a statement from the "[e]viction attorney" who said she had "no comment regarding [the] many questions about 20 tenants or more allegedly facing eviction by Richard Singer and Alice Tse."

In her memorandum in support of the motion to strike Tse argued, in essence, that she did not make the statements alleged in the cross-complaint, but only told the reporter she had a new fraud claim against Singer; that statement, she asserted, was protected as one made in connection with an official judicial proceeding. Tse argued, additionally, that Singer could not show a probability of prevailing on his claim. According to Tse, she "never stated that [Singer] still had ownership or control of [the Property] or was responsible for the conditions of the property since it was transferred, [and therefore Singer] cannot produce competent, admissible evidence to support this allegation." Finally, Tse contended that her statement about having a fraud claim against Singer was true and therefore Singer could not prevail.
]

Click below for more…

https://www.leagle.com/decision/incaco20180410012

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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Strongly oppose SB529 since it will destroy the whole rental marketivy fangFriday May 10th, 2019 4:18 PM

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