San Jose employees commute because of housing prices

SAN JOSE (KRON) — Renter’s rights are back on the front burner amid a push for an end to so-called “no-cause evictions” of renters by their landlords.

At the corner of Story and King in East San Jose is where the Silicon Valley Renters Rights Coalition and several other activist groups will be staging a rally and march Wednesday evening to call attention to the plight of renters who say they are being evicted from their apartments for no good reason.

“I’m here today to stand up for tenants to fight against no cause evictions,” said Ruby Dominguez, who lives in a motel.

Dominguez told a group of supporters outside City Hall that she was indeed evicted from her apartment for no good reason.

“When I received the notice, I knew in a heartbeat that I knew I was not going to be able to find another place that I could afford,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez, according to the group Working Partnerships USA, is one of the more than 2,000 no-cause evictions reported in San Jose since 2010.

“Tenants have done nothing wrong, they played by the rules, paid their rent on time, but still suffered an eviction from wealthy landlords in this city who have been profiting off of rising rents and the weak tenant protections that allow them to basically evict tenants on demand,” Director of Policy at Working Partnerships USA Jeff Buchanan said.

The city council next week will consider a so-called “just cause” ordinance that would make it harder for landlords to evict renters, but property owners like Michael Fitsgerald argue it will make matters worse, leaving no room for dialogue.

“The problem with the just cause ordinance is it takes the authority out of the hands of the owners, the owners need to have the ability to deal with people who just can’t follow the rules, that are intimidating the other tenants, causing problems, making noise at night, preventing other people from sleeping, causing damage….and we can work with them,” Fitsgerald said.

“There are a lot of questions yet to be answered,” San Jose City Councilman Sergio Jimenez said. “We’re unsure where we’re going to end up, but I think the direction is clear from the residents as you clearly heard that folks are struggling, folks are in desperate need of protections.”

An analysis by the Working Partnerships group finds that the annual median household income for renters in San Jose is $55,152 while the income needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is an astonishing $113,040 dollars.

That is far and away more than Dominguez can afford.H