Sunday, February 21, 2016

Waiver Defense Becomes Available To Landlords

Interpreting a lease agreement under the latest court decisions will be much different from the rules accepted among practitioners even a year ago. It seems the changes are now coming down almost every week, and the latest one is a rare specimen: Chen v. Kraft (2016) 243 Cal.App.4th Supp. 13. It holds, among other findings, that a landlord may not waive a prohibition against illegal use of the property, even if a landlord were to enter into a written agreement expressly permitting such use.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Another upside-down amendment to Rent Ordinance is introduced - Campos Bill Re: Educator Evictions

Politics have an inherited dependency on voters. At the core of politics is "making of a common decision for a group of people." [Wikipedia] Not surprisingly, politicians get voters' support by proposing decisions favorited by majority groups of people. The danger of democracy voting itself out was noticed long time ago. A fresh example from far away: Switzerland is going to vote on guaranteeing each citizen a monthly payment of approximately $2,800 fixed income, directly from the government, no effort required. How do you think this proposed measure will survive at the polls? I too think it will pass with a rare rate of success. [I was wrong--Swiss voted against it on June 5]

Example from a recent local past: in September 2015, our supervisors had to vote on the proposed vast package of anti-lanlord measures. Each of the decision-making voting members, a supervisor, is an elected figure, naturally concerned with influencing the electorate of her/his district, so that the majority group votes in support. If tenants constitute a majority of voters, how do you think the elected candidates would vote, especially when the a supervisor's voting is weeks away from her own re-election? Supervisors unanimously (on most points) supported the measure, and it is left to stay with us, at least until being examined by the courts,* even if the supervisors are gone. It did not help some of the sups who were due for re-election. In this city, one quote, even remotely suggesting something against the "eviction crisis" theme, can cost supervisor a seat. And it did. Read the coverage on ballotpedia.org, you will see that the winner for that district was supported by the Tenants' Union. The losing candidate was obviously not.

And turning to the current events, here is a new example of a successful attempt of winning tenant-voters' hearts: Supervisor David Campos (whose bid for reelection is up this year) introduced an amendment to eviction regulations, to limit evictions of anyone related in employment to education. What can be wrong with that? Let's count ways.