Merced renters packed Merced City Chambers Monday, as council members reconsidered the "Just For Eviction" law that protects renters from being evicted from their home for foreclosure.
Roman Contreras pleaded with Merced council members to keep the tenant ordinance on the books so his family can stay in their home. "It's just a lot of stress of finding another place," he said.
Without the ordinance protecting him, Contreras will be kicked out of the house he's been renting for $1,000 a
month for 6 years, even after the bank foreclosed on it and auctioned it off. The new owner came knocking last month. "I was like: I got to leave?! He goes... yeah you know, we're going to rebuild this house and we need to just kick you out and we're going to give you cash for keys," he said.
Merced passed the tenant ordinance last year to prevent banks from evicting renters like Contreras.
"Occupy Merced" joined California's renters advocacy non-profit, "Tenants Together" at Monday's meeting.
"The law was passed to protect tenants from foreclosures from multi-national banks that are taking money out of the community, said Occupy Merced's Zane Hanson."
Realtors are firing back at occupiers and renters. They say the eviction law is an assault on property, not tenant rights. "It's a right to do what you want with your property," said Realtor Andy Krotik.
Attorney Ken Mackie says renters allowed to stay end up defrauding the system. "They would be sitting on the property for 99 years without the ability to collect any rent or do anything," said Mackie.
Contreras and fellow renters are packing up just in case.
A repeal of the local ordinance wouldn't completely take away renter's rights.
A federal law allows renters to stay in their home for 90 days after being notified of foreclosure on the house.
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