Gov. signs bills to help evict tenants for drug, gun crimes

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Several California cities have regained a novel legal tool for ridding apartments of drug and gun offenders.

Gov. Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown

On Monday, Sept. 15, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills, both supported by the California Apartment Association, that allow city prosecutors and city attorneys to file eviction lawsuits against certain types of criminal defendants in specified cities where a landlord requests assistance. The bills extend for five years pilot programs that expired at the end of 2013.

AB 2485 by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, authorizes a city attorney or prosecutor, rather than the landlord or property owner, in Sacramento to initiate an eviction against a tenant for nuisance violations involving controlled substances. It also allows the city of Oakland to take part in the pilot program.

Likewise, AB 2310 by Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, authorizes a city prosecutor or city attorney in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Sacramento and Oakland to file eviction papers to stop nuisances related to unlawful weapons or ammunition.

With both AB 2485 and AB 2310, the eviction actions can be based on law enforcement paperwork, such as an arrest report.

“CAA members believe this law helps rental property owners keep  residential communities safe by authorizing prosecutors to help by bringing eviction  actions against individuals and illegal gang members who use property to  stockpile illegal weapons, ammunition, or illegal substances,” CAA wrote in support of the nuisance-abatement legislation. “Unfortunately, this illegal activity has left tenants and property owners to  live in fear of retaliation should they seek to abate the problem. Many  times witnesses are unwilling to step forward, leaving property owners  without sufficient evidence to pursue the unlawful detainer action.”

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