Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2819, a measure that will prevent innocent tenants from potential credit damage and being blacklisted following an eviction lawsuit.
“Governor Brown’s signature will help protect innocent tenants in California. Tenants who prevail in eviction lawsuits should not be placed wrongfully on tenant black- lists, which jeopardize their credit and undermine their chances of finding new housing,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), who authored the bill.
Under previous California law, tenants facing eviction lawsuits had only 60 days to protect their identities, even if they won their cases. If two month deadline was not met, identities and records from the eviction lawsuit would become publicly available whether or not a tenant prevailed in court.
Tenant screening companies would then compile the names and court records to create what are known as blacklists, which landlords have used to check and use against tenants applying for housing.
Under the new law, identities of tenants who win their court case will no longer be publicly available, even after 60 days. If a landlord wins the case, however, those records will still be published.
The successful passage of AB 2819 is especially important for cities such as Oakland, where staggering rent increases have caused many individuals and families to face eviction lawsuits.
“Around 1,400 eviction cases per year in Alameda County take longer than 60 days to resolve. Before (now), every tenant named in one of these lawsuits would have been unfairly blacklisted simply because his or her case was delayed,” said Jith Meganathan, a policy advocate with Western Center on Law & Poverty. “Now that AB 2819 is law, that will no longer happen.”