FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2020
For more information, contact:
Georges Clement, 917.482.9848, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenant and Housing Advocates Launch Online “NoRent” Tool to Help California Tenants
Alert Landlords of Eviction Protection Rights Under Law
JustFix.nyc and SAJE Develop Interactive Website Helping California Renters
Delay Rent Payments and Prevent Eviction
Los Angeles, CA, December 4, 2020 –To keep California renters in their homes, JustFix.nyc and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) have jointly created an online notice of nonpayment of rent form that tenants can use to protect from being evicted despite economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration-letter builder is a virtual tool that renters can use to enforce California AB3088, an eviction protection law that prevents landlords from removing tenants from their homes before February 1, 2021 without a valid reason or for nonpayment of rent between March 4-January 31, 2021. By law, tenants cannot be evicted over that period if they submit a declaration notice to their landlord indicating that they are unable to pay rent due to job loss or other economic reasons tied to COVID-19.
With COVID-19 cases surging in Los Angeles and new stay-at-home restrictions kicking in amid a third wave, renters need to take advantage of the “NoRent” virtual tool since they are deeply impacted by the pandemic and are struggling to cover rent. In LA County alone, unemployment is at an all-time high, and with COVID-19 positivity rates rising daily, the County Health Department is taking steps to suspend restaurant dining. These actions will leave more workers without jobs and stable income.
Of workers who now lack jobs in LA, 449,000 live in rental units. The declaration-letter builder can ensure that they are protected and able to remain in their homes during this next dark phase of the pandemic. California AB3088 also stipulates that if a tenant fails to pay rent without notifying their landlord, the landlord must give a tenant a blank declaration so they have the opportunity to indicate that they can’t pay rent for the period listed due to COVID-19 issues.
JustFix.nyc and SAJE released an initial version of NoRent in April. Since then, they have had more than 1,000 tenants submit declaration letters in LA County. SAJE staff have followed up with tenants to answer questions and ensure tenants know their rights. Because every tenant must submit a declaration to protect themselves from eviction before February 1, 2021, JustFix.nyc and SAJE are hopeful that more renters will take advantage of this online tool and notify their landlord.
Tenants who have used the tool say it’s been a big help. “The NoRent tool has helped me minimize my expenses and made it easy to send declaration letters to my landlord to inform them I’m unable to pay rent,” said Vilma Ascencio, a South LA Tenant and member of SAJE. “I can create my letter in Spanish and mail it directly via USPS Certified Mail to my landlord in English for free. This tool has empowered me to safely communicate with my landlord.”
“This is a critical moment to support tenants in Los Angeles who need a way to enforce AB3088 to stay in their homes. We cover the cost of mailing via USPS Certified Mail and remind tenants to send a declaration every month,” said Georges Clement, Executive Director of JustFix.nyc. NoRent also plugs tenants into opportunities for further support from SAJE and other local community organizing efforts, Clement added.
JustFix.nyc co-designs and builds tools for tenants, housing organizers, and legal advocates fighting displacement in New York City. Our mission is to galvanize a 21st century tenant movement working towards housing for all — and we think the power of data and technology should be accessible to those fighting this fight. See our full list of products here: http://bit.ly/justfixnycproducts
See more about NoRent.org here: https://bit.ly/NoRentNatlToolkit
Since 1996, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy SAJE has been a force for economic justice in Los Angeles. For over 20 years we have worked side-by-side with our neighbors to improve our community by advocating for tenant rights, healthy housing, and equitable development. We are driven by a vision of a society where justice and equity are the foundation of community development, communities are stable, and where workers and tenants have the same rights, stature, and decision-making power as corporations and property owners. To learn more about SAJE visit our website www.saje.net