Madera City Council Stops Laguna Knolls Evictions Ahead Of 2020 Renter Protections

Nov 21, 2019

The Madera City Council passed an ordinance last night to support residents who were about to be evicted before the holidays, and before state law Assembly Bill 1482 goes into effect, enforcing stronger renter protections. Residents were overjoyed by the unanimous decision. 

Over fifty people packed into the council chambers to support residents of the Laguna Knolls apartment complex who had been served eviction notices at the end of October. 

Debbie Garza is one of the residents who worried before the meeting about what might happen if the ordinance didn’t pass. 

“I wondered, if I was homeless, where would I sleep?” Garza said. “It’s scary.”

After the council passed the urgency ordinance, staying the evictions, she was relieved. 

“I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it,” she said. “I don’t got to move, I can have Christmas! We can have Christmas. We can have Thanksgiving.”

The council called the ordinance a stop-gap measure, which will halt no-fault evictions given before October 31. Sixty-day evictions issued after October would mean tenants don’t have to move until 2020. That’s when a state law will require landlords to either give those tenants a month’s rent to help with relocation, or allow them a month of free rent while they find other housing. 

Other cities around the state, including Stockton, have passed similar measures.

Debbie Garza is a resident at the Laguna Knolls apartment complex in Madera. Until the council passed the ordinance, she said she couldn't even think about celebrating the upcoming holidays but now, she says, Thanksgiving is back on at her house.
Credit Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio