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General News    H3'ed 9/7/12

Tremendous CES Tenants' Rights Victory!!! Governor Jerry Brown Signs Rent Online Bill!

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Tremendous CES Tenants' Rights Victory!!!
  Governor Jerry Brown Signs SB 1055 (Lieu)

Your calls and emails worked!!! As a results of Californians overwhelmingly voicing their concern that landlords were unfairly requiring rental payments be made only online, California Gov. Jerry Brown today signed a Sen. Ted W. Lieu bill that would ensure landlords continue to also accept other forms of payment.
As a result of the Coalition for Economic Survival 's organizing efforts of affected tenants against this practice, Sen. Ted W. Lieu took decisive action by introducing SB 1055 that will ensure residents can continue paying with check or money order.
Senator Lieu issued a statement saying, "This is a victory for everyone who wants the option of paying rent in ways other than online, such as check or money order. The elderly, disabled and poor - or someone who simply wants to keep their options open, can now be assured paying rent online is but one option open to them."

Senate Bill 1055, drew unanimous bipartisan support in the state Legislature and is probably the first tenants' rights bill that was approved with not one vote cast against it.

The Coalition for Economic Survival, along with the Western Center on Law on Poverty, were co-sponsors of the bill.  

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Last September tenants in the buildings owned by Jones and Jones Property Management were served with notices informing them that a new rent online only policy would begin on December 1, 2011.

The notice stated that the new rent policy was for the purposes of 'going green' to help the  planet and save trees by eliminating paper checks and envelopes.

But, CES Executive Director Larry Gross stated at the time that, "We believe the only "going green" they're interested in is the going for more green dollar bills, which they believe will increase in the form of higher rents after evicting people for non-payment of rent who are unable to deal with the new online technology. This is more about greed than green."

After receiving the notice, tenants sought and received assistance from the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES). CES helped to organize residents to oppose the new policy and contacted Bet Tzedek Legal Services who agreed to represent the tenants in a legal action against Jones and Jones.

Many of these tenants are over the age of 62 and have lived in their homes for a decade or more, and, thus, are paying the lowest rent.

In addition, many of these tenants do not own computers, are not computer literate, and are living on fixed incomes. 

Margaret Beavers "I am 86 years old and I am computer illiterate," said Margaret Beavers, a resident a   Crenshaw area Jones and Jones apartment since 1963, and a CES member. "I'd have to buy a computer and learn how to use it; at 86 I want to travel and do other things."

Gross added, "This policy was nothing more than a scheme to target the long-term, low-rent tenants for eviction to obtain higher rents."

"This law will now prohibit these actions and provide tenants with a choice on how they prefer to pay their rent. It is a tremendous tenants' rights victory, Gross concluded. 

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Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES). He has been with CES for 42 years, since its inception in 1973. CES is a grassroots, multi-racial, multi-ethnic tenants' rights organization serving low and (more...)

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