We applaud the City Council's vote this week in favor of renters.
It took a push from a San Francisco nonprofit to get our council members to approve the "Just Cause for Eviction" ordinance in a 4-3 vote Monday.
Tenants Together, the nonprofit, asked the council earlier this year to consider the ordinance as soon as possible to stabilize Merced's housing market. It's a long-term local law that offers better protection than federal law for renters facing eviction after a foreclosure. Federal law gives a tenant only 90 days notice of the intent to foreclose.
The tenants advocacy group said the ordinance protects renters who've done nothing wrong from being kicked out by banks foreclosing on a property.
Real estate representatives at the council didn't see it that way, of course, but they were civil in their opposition — and maybe even a little compassionate.
We all know the hundreds of horror stories that have emerged from our three-year nightmare of becoming America's foreclosure epicenter. We've seen the tears at the auctions on the courthouse steps. We've seen Realtors once proud to have helped people into their first homes suddenly have to carry protection when they visited abandoned houses.
The renters' ordinance isn't a panacea for the estimated 2,500 or so people affected. It's a band-aid — a temporary fix to help them find other housing or for another owner to take over and let them stay or find another alternative.
We think that given the mental and financial hell so many Mercedians have been through with losing their homes that this ordinance is a rational and humane solution — for now.
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