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California Legislature

California Assembly bill to protect tenants from deportation heads to Gov. Jerry Brown

 (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

The California Assembly sent a bill to Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday that would prohibit landlords from threatening their tenants with deportation and establish protections for immigrants in eviction cases.

The legislation by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would bar landlords from disclosing information about immigration status in order to intimidate, harass or evict tenants without following proper procedures. It also would allow immigrant tenants to file civil claims against their landlords if they do.

In such eviction cases, attorneys would be prohibited from threatening to report the immigration status of tenants under the legislation's provisions.

The bill moved out of the Assembly with a 49-18 vote without debate.  

The legislation comes as immigrant rights groups in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and other areas across the state have received reports of landlords threatening to report tenants to immigration authorities unless they move out. Often, advocates say, the threats are in response to tenants reporting issues such as exposed electrical wiring or vermin.

Another state Assembly bill pending approval in the Senate would ensure that no state office or entity in California could compel a landlord to obtain and disclose information on a tenant's immigration status.

“Trump’s escalating war on immigrants is ripping apart families and mass deportations could be our new reality,” Chiu said in a statement. “This bill will deter the small minority of landlords who unscrupulously take advantage of the real or perceived immigration status of their tenants to engage in abusive acts. I appreciate the support of the Senate.”

Times reporter Melanie Mason contributed to this story.

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