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Monterey County speeds up tenant protections

For Central Coast renters, this holiday season may turn bleak as many receive eviction notices. A new state law aims to protect tenants, particularly from no-fault evictions. But some landlords are now sharply raising rents or sending out required 60-day and 30-day eviction notices now before the law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

"There is a financial incentive for landlords to evict long-term, lower-income tenants, without cause, to raise rents and attract wealthier tenants before [the new state law] becomes effective," according to Monterey County Housing Program Manager Anastacia Wyatt.

To help protect vulnerable tenants, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors this week closeda loophole of time.

“I've been contacted over the last several weeks by residents in Salinas who first got a notice of increase rents, by 20 percent,” said Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo. “But three days later, on the very last day that they could give a 60-day notice, half of this apartment complex—six of the 12 households—were issued eviction orders.”

Alejo brought an emergency ordinancebefore the board Tuesday that aims to stop the evictions and rent hikes by essential instituting the state law immediately.

“We're among the first counties to consider this,” Alejo said. “But cities all across California are already doing so.”

The supervisors passed the emergency ordinance unanimously.

Before the vote, several housing advocates urged the board to pass it. Over a third of people in areas of the Salinas Valley and unincorporated Monterey County are renters.

“If we want to address homelessness, one of the first places to start is in preventing the flow of people from housing into homelessness,” said Eliott Robinson of the Monterey/San Benito Counties Coalition of Homeless Services Providers.

California’sTenant Protection Act of 2019—AB 1482—requires that landlords provide a legitimate reason to evict tenants, and places a cap on annual rent increases. It was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in early October.

Both the new law in Monterey County and the coming state law don’t apply to single-family, owner-occupied homes with renters.

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