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Decision on controversial renters' protections in Chula Vista postponed

Chula Vista City Council decided to hold off on its decision on an ordinance which would give renters more protections in the case of "no-fault" evictions.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — After hours of public comment both for and against, Chula Vista's city council decided to postpone voting on a controversial proposal that would strengthen tenants' protections. 

This ordinance would essentially strengthen protections for tenants who are being forced out of their rental units through no fault of their own.

These no-fault evictions include a property owner who wants to undertake substantial renovations; remove the property from the rental market; or have a family member move into the unit.

Under the ordinance, in most cases, landlords would have to provide 60 days notice to renters to vacate and provide relocation assistance.

That assistance would be equivalent to two months worth of fair market rent, or three months worth for elderly or disabled tenants.

Also, if a property is taken off the market, but then offered again within two years time, the displaced tenant would have first dibs on that same unit under this ordinance.

Tenants and members from Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment San Diego, chanted ahead of the Chula Vista City council meeting saying, "Fight, fight, fight, housing is a human right.”

The group feels the city's ordinance for that allows renter protections in no-fault evictions doesn't go far enough.

"My family was evicted at the peak of the pandemic even though we followed the rules and paid our rent,” said tenant and ACCE member, Gabriel Guzman.

Gabriel Guzman, a Marine veteran says he and his family were homeless for a month.

Guzman used to work for a fire and flood restoration company while his wife taught at a daycare. They both lost their jobs, and now he says they risk being homeless again.

“We were lucky to find a new home, but now I'm facing a secondary eviction based on a 60-day notice, and it's not that we won't move out, but we need enough time,” said Guzman.

Richard Dascoli of the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors held up a sign that said, “No more red tape.”

He says the city needs to vote against the ordinance.

“We don't want homeowners to be impacted by an ordinance that is overreaching, and that there is no information yet determining that it is needed,” said Dascoli.

Although the ordinance says it will not impact any single-family units, Dascoli says there is language that will apply, and the city needs to do more research and put together a better program to help renters.

“Need to help the few people who are having a lot of trouble and not make a blanket ordinance that will impact 33,000 rental units in Chula Vista,” said Dascoli.

Mayor of Chula Vista Mary Salas supports the ordinance but says there are strong viewpoints on both sides.

“Many, many people on both sides, who are advocating for their position, but whenever this ordinance comes back, nobody is going to be happy with it. You know, the tenant advocates want more, and the housing providers want less. I think it is going to be a toss-up and I think there's going to be a lot of discussion, and I don't think we are all on the same page, but we shall see tonight,” said Salas.

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