Some ideas are even too anti-tenant to pass in realtor-dominated Sacramento. AB 205 (Wood) is a state realtor-sponsored bill that would have allowed evictions to occur outside the court eviction process. Tenants Together communicated our strong opposition to the bill’s author, as did allies including the Western Center on Law & Poverty. After learning more about the issue and the strong opposition, Assemblymember Wood did the right thing and pulled the bill. The Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill was scheduled for April 28, but has now been canceled at the author’s request.
AB 205 was a follow-up to last year’s AB 1513, authored by former Assemblymember Steve Fox as he tried to curry favor with realtors in an election year. Framed as a bill to deal with trespassers, the bill posed a major threat to tenants falsely accused of being unauthorized occupants in their own homes. Fox manage to get widespread support from legislators last year for AB 1513 after he converted it to a pilot project limited to a few cities.
We warned at the time that allowing this California Association of Realtors (CAR) bill to pass would whet CAR’s appetite to dismantle tenant protections by denying tenants the right to defend themselves in court. We were right. This year, CAR convinced Assemblymember Wood to author the next “eviction by declaration” bill. AB 205 (Wood) would have picked up where AB 1513 left off, allowing two more counties to bypass the eviction process.
This bill was the latest in CAR’s ongoing effort to undermine tenant protections and hurt California renters. The defeat is an important rebuke for CAR which is used to getting its way in Sacramento these days.
Sometimes reason prevails, even in the Capitol.