For low-income tenants, federal and local housing voucher programs like Section 8 can make the difference between housing stability and homelessness. Renters who receive rental assistance vouchers are disproportionately part of vulnerable populations, including people of color, people with disabilities, seniors, and people on fixed incomes. While 11 states prohibit landlords from discriminating against renters who receive housing voucher assistance, California isn't one of them.
Tenants Together volunteers & staff counsel renters facing Section 8 discrimination on our statewide hotline day in and day out. Landlords often target Section 8 renters for eviction in order to evade accountability, or simply reject rental applications from Section 8 voucher holders. Frequently, housing providers will blatantly state "No Section 8" on their rental listings. Section 8 discrimination has devastating consequences: in Los Angeles, nearly half of renters using Section 8 vouchers could not find housing before their voucher expired due to the widespread discrimination. No one should be denied a stable home because they use rental assistance to rent in an overpriced and extremely competitive housing market.
California State Senate Bill 329, sponsored by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), would amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include Section 8 and other housing assistance vouchers within California’s prohibition on discrimination based on source of income. SB 329 passed the State Senate, and is now making its way through the Assembly.
The Tenants Together Action Fund is currently accepting donations to support local tenant organizations doing local political work. Last year, we contributed $10,000 to Santa Cruz's Movement for Housing Justice as they campaigned for rent control and just cause. We want to double that donation to several more rent control organizers next year.
Already, tenant organizations across the state are working hard to qualify rent control and just cause for the ballot: Culver City, Pasadena, Burbank, Sacramento, and we're just getting started! Can you help us support them?
Go to https://www.tenantaction.org/donate_local to contribute to our local rent control fund!
For donors, your investment comes at a critical time as the real estate industry spends millions to attempt to stop the efforts of grassroots movement building. We won’t outspend them but strategic investment in strong, people-powered local efforts will make a critical difference. Your donations help the people who are organizing every day for a future where all Californians have access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.
Donations to the TTAF are not tax-deductible. The Tenants Together Action Fund is a project of Tides Advocacy.
While tenants work two, three jobs to pay the rent, landlords have the power to evict without cause and raise the rent however much they want. The imbalance of power is clear. Landlords have more time, money, and lobbyists than renters. How do we correct that imbalance? We organize. Renters across California and the US are banding together against rent hikes, poor quality of life conditions, and mass evictions by forming tenants' associations. But there's a huge risk: tenants can face retaliation and eviction by their landlords, simply for organizing.
It happened to Betty Gabaldon, who founded the 1127 Virginia Lane Tenants Association in Concord, and was evicted from her home of eight years with her nine-year-old daughter. Betty believes her property manager retaliated against her after she questioned why a neighbor received a 60-day notice. The manager's response: “In Concord, there is no ‘just cause’ policy. I do not have to give you a reason.” Because tenants in most California municipalities can be evicted "without cause," tenants like Betty have no recourse when they are punished for organizing with their neighbors and communities.
With California State Senate Bill 529, sponsored by Tenants Together and Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), tenants can organize with their buildings and communities for safe, affordable housing, without fear that they will be wrongfully displaced.
The California Tenant Bill of Rights is a living document, a work in progress, to bring together the tenants rights movement and envision the political and social victories the Tenants Together Action Fund hopes to achieve in the coming years.
By signing the California Tenant Bill of Rights, you believe that all California renters, regardless of age, ancestry, class, color, immigration status, national origin, race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, sex, religion, disability, or marital status, have the right to:
1. A place to call home
2. An affordable rent
3. Freedom from arbitrary eviction, retaliation & discrimination
4. Safe & healthy living conditions
5. Strong consumer protections
6. Full & fair access to the courts
7. Tenant organizing without interference
9. Government policy that prioritizes renters
10. Respect and regard equal to that of homeowners
Have we gotten them all? Send us your feedback on the tenant bill of rights to [email protected]