Torrico Bill Aiding Renters in Foreclosure Squeeze Passes Assembly Committee

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Santa Monica Chronicle

SACRAMENTO - A bill by Assembly Member Alberto Torrico (D-Newark) to give added protection to renters who are being forced out of their homes because their landlords´ properties are foreclosed, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee 7-2 today. The bill now heads to the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee.

The foreclosure crisis has forced thousands of California renters out of their homes in search of new housing. AB 2586 would double the amount of time tenants have to move from 30 days to 60 days and would also provide enhanced notification requirements.

"Renters are the truly innocent victims of the foreclosure crisis," Torrico said. "With the economy slumping, people are finding it more difficult to make ends meet. Getting blindsided with the knowledge that their home is in foreclosure and they only have 30 days to get out is devastating."

Currently, notice of foreclosures are often posted on the property and directed at the owner. Seeing the posted notice is frequently the first time tenants are aware the home is foreclosed. On other occasions, tenants were unaware their homes were being foreclosed until the utilities were shut off.

Under AB 2586, tenant notification, written in plain language, would be mailed to renters as well as posted on the property. Utililties would also be required to notify tenants of shutoffs and to have in place procedures for tenants to establish service in their own names without paying a landlord´s previous balance. If the tenant starts paying for a utility service formerly provided and paid for by the landlord, the tenant could deduct those payments from the rent.

AB 2586 is sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty. It is supported by a number of organizations including the Gray Panthers, California Foundation for Independent Living Center and the Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality.


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