Chula Vista Proposes New Tenant Protection Ordinance
By Julie Paule
The City of Chula Vista has begun the process to create a Tenant Protection Ordinance. These tenant protection ordinances, which impact all landlords, have become popular in local jurisdictions as local eviction moratoriums begin to phase out.
In the case of Chula Vista, the proposed ordinance provides just cause protections, Ellis Act restrictions, enhanced relocation benefits, and, the most harmful to mobilehome park owners, it creates a cause of action for claims of harassment of tenants. The draft language is overly vague, one-sided, and punitive.
Of course, no one condones harassment of tenants. Property owners want their properties to be harmonious for the peaceful enjoyment of their residents. However, the suggested language used to define harassment is broad and vague making everyday interactions with a resident rise to the level of a crime.
The city cites the need to reduce harassment in their rental property stock but doesn’t do anything to address or curtail the abuse our management faces with residents. Our property managers are subjected to mistreatment daily by misbehaving tenants without any protections or recourse. The notion that the city’s priority is to reduce harassment doesn’t hold up when you only address one side of it.
Parkowners and WMA have met with the city and asked for evidence that mobilehome park residents are ill-served by the anti-harassment protections provided by the Mobilehome Residency Law Protection Program (MRLPP). They confessed that no residents of their 31 mobilehome parks have come forward claiming harassment.
These local tenant protection ordinances are nothing more than a solution in search of a problem. The real harassment taking place is the legal aid attorneys in search of deep pockets. Public interest, non-profit law firms are behind these ordinances and they partner with community organizers like Alliance of California Community Empowerment (ACCE Action) to organize and script tenants to press for these local laws. They have had a lot of success getting them passed throughout the state.
Chula Vista is scheduled to take action this spring. Several landlord and property owners’ groups are working to defeat this proposal as well. Parkowners and WMA have been working to get MRL tenancies exempted from Chula Vista’s harmful ordinance.
Julie Paule, is WMA’s Regional Representative for San Diego/Orange/Riverside/Imperial. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org