November 14, 2017 | By Chris Krohn
Anxious residents flee their home on Hillcrest Terrace in October, located below UCSC, after receiving an eviction notice giving them less than 48 hours to leave. (Photo by C. Krohn)
The city council passed a unanimous recommendation that city staff come back with an ordinance that may bring some needed relief to tenants. Included in the council action are some teeth that might growl at bad-actor landlords. If a tenant has to be evicted when a landlord’s property is red-tagged because of life-threatening health and safety issues, then the tenant would be eligible for receiving immediate relocation expenses from the city; up to 4-5 months of rent to be collected from the landlord; and the city is directed to go after the landlord for any out-of-pocket expenses on the part of the tenants, or the city of Santa Cruz.
Back in October, six UCSC undergrads were evicted by the city of Santa Cruz, but they weren’t offered any compensation or relocation assistance. Their only remedy was to have their landlord pay two months rent as required by law, but their landlord would not respond to tenants. What the new proposed ordinance would do is offer a safety net to evicted residents in the form of immediate relief by providing funds to stay in a hotel. The city might then place a lien on the landlord’s property if they resist compensating tenants and the city.