Seniors, veterans, families fear new apartment owners will force them into holiday move

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Families in Clovis, a lot of them including seniors or veterans, are afraid new rules and new rents from new apartment owners will force them to move during the holidays.

Derrick Ervin had a dog of a day Monday when he got a notice saying he can't hang his Marine flag outside anymore.

"I'm a veteran," he said. "They had me hot."

County records show an apartment investor named David Hussain bought Ervin's apartment complex, the Gettysburg Gardens, for $4.3 million a couple of months ago and people who live here say they're getting bombarded now with notices about new rules limiting what they can do.

The managers raised the rent, then lowered it a little.

They banned outside decorations -- even for Christmas.

And they instituted a no pet policy.

"They just bought this place," Ervin said. "New management. And this is how you treat your tenants."

"Everybody's very upset," said Marlene Remer, who also lives in the complex. "Very upset that they're going to lose their homes, losing their animals. They're losing where they've lived for years, some of them. They can't uproot older people like that."

Action News called the offices and a manager named Samantha told us Hussain doesn't accept Section 8 renters at any of his 20 or so properties.

She said they won't kick out any Section 8 renters at Gettysburg Gardens. They just won't take new ones.

And all of his rental homes have a no pet policy.

They've given everyone in Gettysburg Gardens 30 days to get rid of theirs or find somewhere else to live.

That puts people in a tough position. None of them want to lose their pets.

"No I don't," said Remer of her dog, Little Girl. "I certainly don't want to get rid of her. She's my companion. She's my love. She's my child."

A legally blind resident told us she planned to get a doctor's note saying her dog is for service or comfort. Managers said that could work.

Real estate lawyers told us the new owner seems to be working within his rights under current laws, but the changes can be very problematic.

And the laws are changing in California in January, including a cap on rent increases under AB-1482.

SB-329 also takes effect in 2020, preventing landlords from being able to outright refuse a Section 8 application.

"They have to at least allow some kind of screening process to all applicants regardless of their assistance/source of income," said Brandi Johnson from the Fresno Housing Authority. "In 2020, they can no longer say 'We don't accept section 8.'"

Central California Legal Services offers help for anyone having rental issues. You can reach their legal advice and referral line at (559)675-8001.
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