WALNUT CREEK (KPIX) — Tenant advocates said they’re seeing a spike in eviction and rent increase notices before the new year. They believed some property management companies and landlords are trying beat a new statewide rent control law — Assembly Bill 1482 — before it goes into effect on Jan. 1.
All 14 units at an apartment complex on Lacassie Avenue in Walnut Creek received an eviction notice last month. Cait Hudson said the notice was taped to her door two days before Thanksgiving.
“I was shocked it was that amount, shocked,” said Hudson, whose six-month lease expires at the end of the year.
The notice said she can move out by Dec. 31 or pay $500 more a month for rent to move to another unit.
“So from $1,850 to $2,350 — same unit, same size and same upgrades. So it’s crazy, it’s a crazy amount,” said a frustrated Hudson.
The city of Walnut Creek does not have rent control. The city has been referring tenants like Hudson to ECHO Housing, a non-profit that advocates for tenants in Alameda, Contra Costa and Monterey Counties.
“[Property management companies and landlords] want them out so they can charge what they’d consider fair-market value or rate,” said Jonathan Torres, a housing programs coordinator for ECHO Housing.
ECHO Housing tries to negotiate with the landlord in a dispute before contacting a real estate attorney.
“Every day we’re hearing calls from tenants who are being served with either illegal rent increases that are extremely high or the notice of termination,” said Torres.
He said management companies and landlords across the state are trying do those two things before AB 1482 goes into effect next month. In fact, the problem is so bad that about 50 cities and counties in the state have already implemented AB 1482 to prevent mass evictions.
The statewide rent-control law doesn’t affect cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland since they already having existing rent control.
As for Cait Hudson, she received an early Christmas gift: a new apartment.
“My application just got accepted this morning. So I’m so excited. I’m going to sign my lease after this (interview) and move in on the 30th,” said Hudson.
The property management company of the complex, Savvy Real Estate Services, declined to comment. The owner of the property is on vacation in Europe. A friend, who is house sitting for the property owner, said she’ll be back January 5 from her vacation.