This April marks 49 years since the Fair Housing Act was signed into law, protecting renters and buyers from landlord and seller discrimination. Today, Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) is the leading regional legal aid provider to individuals and families facing housing discrimination. Our attorneys and our clients continue to rely on this critical piece of civil rights legislation to protect the right to safe and stable housing, free from discrimination.
Defending Housing Rights
Fair Housing advocacy is just one of several components of BayLegal’s Housing Preservation Practice. We preserve and expand access to affordable housing by protecting families from:
- Illegal evictions
- Substandard housing conditions
- Wrongful denial or termination of housing subsidies
- Foreclosure rescue scams
From Napa Valley to Silicon Valley, San Francisco to San José, our Housing Preservation team fights housing discrimination and ensures that “Fair Housing Equals Opportunity.”
San Francisco Mayor’s Office Invests in Tenants’ Rights Consortium
Thanks to a significant investment from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), BayLegal leads a consortium working to expand and enforce tenant protections for low-income residents throughout San Francisco.
“The tenants that we serve are particularly vulnerable to displacement because they rely on subsidies to afford the city’s high rents,” says BayLegal Attorney and Regional Housing Coordinator, Lauren DeMartini. “If they lose their subsidies, they also lose the ability to stay in their communities.”
Through our partnership with MOHCD, BayLegal attorneys are able to halt displacement and multiply impact by directly serving clients and providing technical assistance and mentoring to legal aid professionals also working to meet the overwhelming need for expertise on housing cases in San Francisco.
“BayLegal has demonstrated leadership in both responding to the regional housing crisis, as well as in working to build the capacity of the local tenant-serving legal aid community. BayLegal is recognized as having specialized expertise in serving San Franciscans living in public housing, and this expertise has been an integral part of the City’s transformation of public housing.” – Brian Cheu, Director of Community Development, MOHCD.
We are thrilled to recognize the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development as a partner in our work!
San José City Council Approves New Tenant Protections
Sara*, a BayLegal client and domestic violence survivor, had been a model tenant for several years, when her landlord’s adult son began stalking her. He would follow her relentlessly and drop by her apartment late at night. When Sara refused these unwanted advances, she received a “no cause” eviction notice from her landlord.
This past week, the San José City Council passed new “just cause” and Ellis Act measures, adding protections for renters like Sara and as many as 450,000 other residents. Learn more here.
*Name has been changed.
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Watch Seven Days
Seven Days is a gripping, award-winning film that tells the story of how—in the seven days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—a coalition of brave Americans fought to the make the Fair Housing Act federal law.