In this blog I spend a lot of my time talking about the importance of protecting middle class homeowners, but not all citizens can afford to buy a home. That means that we have to look at the needs of renters as well. The easiest way to protect the rights of tenants is to strengthen the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA). The RLTA is the set of laws which govern how landlords and tenants have to treat each other and allows tenants to sue their landlord if the landlord violates the tenant’s rights. The most recent version was passed in 1989, and has been amended a few times sense then.
Currently, the RLTA is not subject to consumer protection laws. I want to change that. If a landlord decides to take advantage renters, then the Attorney General needs to be able to fully investigate the claims, and bring a lawsuit on behalf of all of the tenants. That will ensure that landlords will be held accountable for the housing that they provide in this state, will be punished for substandard housing, and allow tenants to receive restitution if a landlord breaks the law.
We also need to force landlords to place deposits into interest baring accounts for the benefit of the tenant. Essentially, a deposit is the landlord’s way of keeping the tenant’s money away from the tenant. If we are going to have that sort of system, then we need to make up that loss to the tenant by offering them some return on that lost money. That will also prevent landlords from setting huge deposits because they know that they will have to pay the interest on the deposit.
I will also work to repeal a law change that Rep. Ryu voted for. In the past, landlords had only 14 days to refund a security deposit to a former tenant. The new law allows landlords 21 days. Many renters need their previous security deposit to make a new security deposit, and some of those renters may need to go to payday lenders, another group that Rep. Ryu claims to be opposed to. Rep. Ryu says that she wants to protect the rights of tenants, but allowing a landlord to hold on to a deposit longer than absolutely necessary does not do that. In fact, Rep. Ryu is endorsed by the Rental Housing Association PAC. This is a group who states on their website that they, “Promote the interests of rental housing providers to State and Local Legislative bodies, news media & the general public.” She even took a maximum donation from them for the primary.
Rep. Ryu claims that she is on the side of renters, but she is endorsed by a pro-landlord group, took money from that group, and voted for bills that will hurt renters instead of proposing legislation that will help them. As the head of the Community Development Committee, she is in the most obvious spot to advance legislation that will help renters, and she has not. I believe that renters need to be protected at all costs, and will sponsor legislation advancing each of the goals I mentioned above. And I pledge to not accept money from any group whose main goal is to advance the goals big rental companies who are looking to hurt tenants.