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Tenants claim that their landlord found a loophole in California's eviction ban

A clause in the COVID-19 relief act states landlords may still proceed with evictions unrelated to a tenant’s failure to pay rent because of the pandemic.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — Anthony Ydrogo is a father of two who has lived in a Sacramento area apartment for two years. He says he lost his job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He couldn't pay rent and soon after his landlord began to retaliate.

“It started escalating with harassments 'pay your rent or else,' 'you’re not protected, don’t give me that government nonsense,'” Ydrogo said.

He now says he has an eviction date of March 17 because of what he calls a loophole in the SB19 legislation that allows landlords to evict tenants for “just cause." Reasons can include things like damaging the property or causing disturbances.

“The landlord is evicting me because she said I was a nuisance and I was a danger to the tenants,” Ydrogo explained.

Ydrogo admits he was part of an altercation at the apartment complex but it did not result in an arrest and he does not believe he is a danger to his neighbors.  

Cesar Aguirre with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment says, two other tenants at Tahoe Park are also being evicted using the same loophole. Aguirre says a citywide measure on November’s ballot, that failed last year, would have protected these tenants.

“If we had Measure C passed in November we would have an elected rent board which could review and rule in this kind of case. Which would provide some protection for these individuals,” Aguirre explained.

The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act does state that it protects tenants from being evicted for "just cause" if the landlord is shown to be "really evicting the tenant for COVID-19 related nonpayment of rent." However, under the state's tenant protection guidelines, it says "if you believe you have been unlawfully evicted you should consult with an attorney."

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