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Chula Vista renters and landlords at odds on proposed no-fault eviction proposals

The City of Chula Vista will take up two proposals to protect renters from no-fault evictions tonight. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado spoke with a renter and landlord about the controversial proposal where a rally is happening at city hall.
Updated: May 18, 2022 at 12:09 AM PDT
The Chula Vista City Council postponed the vote on local tenant protections to address no fault evictions to gather more information and resources. They plan to reconsider the ordinances on July 12.

Mitch Thompson is in the middle of remodeling a rental unit he owns in Chula Vista. Among the changes, he's adding "a nice new farm, stainless-steel sink... all the appliances are going to be stainless steel," he said as he showed us around the unit.

Thompson is putting in a lot of work and money, but he’s afraid of what will happen with some of his other rentals when it comes to future restorations.

That’s because of some no-fault eviction proposals being considered tonight by the Chula Vista City Council. Thompson said if they pass, he would not only have to give tenants a year's notice, but also would have to pay them if he needs them to move out for renovations.

"You have to pay them two months of relocation if you give them a notice to move," he said, adding that it’s not realistic and if it passes it may cause him to do business elsewhere. "It’s sending a message to me that this city may not be the best place to continue to be a landlord in."

But on the other side of the argument are Miriam Goff and her two children.

"My kids grew up here, I love this city but I need to move — where, San Ysidro, Tijuana?" said Goff. She said her apartment complex has changed hands many times, and the new owners gave her a notice to move because they want to remodel, but requirements to continue to live there seem impossible to meet.

She's been dealing with this conflict for two years. "I don’t want to fight anymore. Nobody listens to us, the owner looks at us like numbers. We are dollar symbols. It’s only that. We’re dollars, we’re money for the owner," she said.

She’s pleading with the city council to consider people in her shoes and do something about it. "How many more Miriams do we need to explain the problem?" she asked. "It’s time to make a solution. It’s only that — make a solution."

Chula Vista City Councilmember Jill Galvez said she is sympathetic to both landlords and renters, but has some serious reservations about the proposals. "A lot of these ordinances, they sound good on paper, maybe to some, but they will have unintended consequences," she said.

Galvez said she is concerned the ordinances will not only make units almost impossible for landlords to renovate, but will also place burdens on the city to enforce. "It’s going to cost the city a lot of money and staff time to regulate something that’s already regulated by the federal government," she said, "and that cost will have to be spread amongst all rental units in the city of Chula Vista, so in effect the cost to rent will go up."

The council is scheduled vote on the proposals on Tuesday night. A rally to support the ordinances is scheduled just before the council meeting.