Several Madera families say they're facing eviction despite paying rent on time

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tenants at an apartment complex on A Street near Clinton Street in Madera say they're overwhelmed with emotions after seven families recently received eviction notices stating they must move out by October 31.

They say, "It's sad, especially for those of us who have children. It's not right that the owner is doing this."

The residents did not want to be identified but say they have lived here for years and always paid their rent on time, even though some have faced hardships during the pandemic.

Madera City Council Member Santos Garcia says, "They are paying rent. They showed me their receipts. So I'm not sure what the situation is with the apartment owner that he's evicting people at this time."

Garcia says the city has a severe shortage of affordable housing, so he's worried the families will end up on the streets or in crowded conditions where COVID-19 can quickly spread.

He explains, "We have a big problem with homeless, so these families are going to contribute to the homeless problem. Or they're going to go live with their family members in a bedroom, and that's not the way people should live."

Garcia plans to ask his fellow council members to support a new emergency ordinance like the one they passed late last year to keep dozens of residents at the Laguna Knolls apartments from being evicted.

That measure expired in December, but directing attorney Baldwin Moy with California Rural Legal Assistance says tenants statewide are protected from being evicted *without just cause* under Assembly Bill 1482, which took effect in January.

Moy says, "The notice is not legal, and they can't evict them based on that notice. That doesn't mean sometimes the landlord isn't able to scare them into leaving even though it's not legal at this time to terminate their tenancy."

Action News spoke with the property owner and asked about the reason for the eviction notices. He said he has no information, and the issue is being handled by "the legal department."
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