Right to Civil Counsel pt. 2

Update! Read part 1 here.

On November 28th Supervisors Jeff Sheehy and London Breed introduced legislation that would establish an Office of Tenant Assistance to provide full scope legal representation to San Francisco tenants in certain eviction proceedings. Read the legislation here.

I'm thrilled the Board of Supervisors is moving forward with this important proposal.

I have one comment, on section 58.2(c), reproduced here: 

I would like to suggest that the excluded types of evictions be (1 AND 2) OR (3), instead of the current arrangement which is (1) OR (2) OR (3).

For example, as far as I understand, under the current wording, any tenant who is being evicted by their master tenant, or landlord they live with, for any reason would not qualify for funded representation. I understand the point of the exclusion is supposed to allow roommates that are victims of abuse to evict their abusers. This exclusion shouldn’t be extended to any and all subtenants. Subtenants are the most vulnerable tenants anyway. Many of them are told (incorrectly) by their master tenant that they don’t have any protection from eviction and they believe it!

I am also wondering what “harassment” means in this context. It would not be good to create a situation where all a master tenant, or any landlord, has to do to exclude their tenant from the program is to accuse the tenant of “harassing” anyone. A tenant accused, for instance, of harassing a neighbor, should still have the benefit of a lawyer to defend against the claim. The accusation might be false.

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