Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eviction of 83-Year Old Sacramento Tenant Sparks Statewide Outrage

Today we issued an urgent action alert calling on a landlord to stop the eviction of 83-year old Sacramento tenant Dorothy Morris, a tenant of the Sacramento Manor senior living community in Sacramento.  Sacramento Manor issued a notice to terminate Morris’ tenancy not alleging any fault on the part of the tenant.  Instead, according the Sacramento Bee, “Sacramento Manor manager Jessica Dawn Gering testified in the one-day trial that the landlord evicted Morris as part of its effort to rid itself of federally-subsidized Section 8 tenants.”  The judge entered a directed verdict for the landlord, refusing to allow the jury that was impaneled to render a decision.  Morris is scheduled to be evicted on January 2, 2015.

Dorothy Morris, 83, fighting her eviction from Sacramento Manor, a south area senior-living apartment complex where she said she has lived since March 2013.ANDY FURILLO AFURILLO@SACBEE.COM
We are asking members and allies to take action to stop this eviction. Send a letter and call the landlord, Sacramento Manor, at (916) 421-0686 and demand that the eviction be stopped. We want to send a clear message to this landlord that evicting a senior like this is totally unacceptable.

California’s tenant protections are deeply flawed and too often allow this kind of senseless eviction. California does not require that a landlord have “good cause” for eviction.  In most parts of California, including the city of Sacramento, arbitrary eviction is legal; tenants can be evicted for no cause whatsoever.  Nor does California law expressly ban Section 8 discrimination, emboldening landlords to blatantly discriminate against low-income tenants who rely on a Section 8 voucher to subsidize their rent.

Tenants Together regularly works to strengthen tenant protections at the state and local level.  TT believes that all California tenants should be protected from eviction without cause.  Eviction is particularly hard on senior and disabled tenants.

According to Jodi Reid, Executive Director of California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA), “Evictions are devastating for seniors.  We urge Sacramento Manor to stop this eviction immediately; if they won’t, city officials need to intervene before it’s too late.”

This case also highlighted the inherent unfairness of tenants’ having no legal representation at trial. We don’t know which is worse: the fact that this 83-year old tenant would not have a lawyer to defend her case at trial or that a judge would issue a directed verdict rather than letting the case be decided by a jury of her peers. Sacramento Superior Court recently terminated its Shriver partnership which had been providing legal representation to hundreds of low-income tenants annually, leaving tenants like Morris to fend for themselves in court.

Tenants Together urges all Californians to send a letter and call the landlord, Sacramento Manor, at (916) 421-0686 and demand that Dorothy Morris be allowed to stay in her home.

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