SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — After receiving eviction notices last summer, a group of midtown Sacramento renters is fighting against their landlords, claiming they were not offered relocation assistance required by law.
But the landlords of the apartments behind University Art in midtown say that to fix the apartments to get them up to city code is just too expensive.
The apartment building in question has about half occupancy at this point in time, but the renters who are still there said they feel their landlord did not follow the proper eviction laws.
In August, those living at the apartments behind University Art were told they had until Nov. 30 to get out.
“2020 was already terrible, and then I went through a really bad breakup, and then I was told that I need to get out of my home. Then I was like, ‘Well, great, 2020 is even worse now,’” said Veronica LuVisi.
Adding to the bad timing, LuVisi said she had also just taken a pay cut at work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she can’t find a place with rent as cheap anywhere else in midtown.
“The rental market is not very good right now either, so it’s like a lot of things,” she said. “It’s not the ideal time to move.”
Bobby Castagna, who also received an eviction notice, agreed.
“I understand that property owners have a right to do whatever they want with their property. It’s just the timing is really really poor,” Castagna told FOX40.
Castagna has lived in the apartments for four years.
With COVID-19 cases increasing across the country, he felt the evictions should be delayed. So, he contacted his neighbors and reached out to the Sacramento Tenants Union.
The organization told him it believes those evictions are invalid.
“And it says it, like, plain as day there in the law, ‘If there’s not relocation assistance, your notice to vacay is invalid,’” he said.
This week, the remaining tenants and the STU sent a demand letter to their landlords, who also own University Art in Sacramento and in Redwood City.
“Under city code, they are required to provide relocation assistance,” explained Elliot Stevenson of the STU. “None of that has been discussed or offered to them as of yet. So right now, we’re in sort of a negotiation phase.”
FOX40 also reached out to the landlords of the apartments, who sent a statement Thursday.
Please know that this is not a decision we just made lightly and without exhausting other possibilities. The building needs costly renovations to make it safe and a simple patch job is not a safe answer. We have been in contact with the City of Sacramento (as corrected in the Sac Bee yesterday) and we have been in contact with city planners obtaining permits for repairs. As stated in the letter, the cost of bringing the building up to code and make it safe will cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The tenants were notified August 1st, 2020. We received their letter the same day as the Sac Bee this Tuesday November 17th.
We currently have no plans for the property, but we are investigating all possibitlies.
But Castagna said he believes his landlord purposely did not make repairs to the building so that they would have just cause to evict.
“It took them a year to repair the roof that was above our place and there was a hole the size of a dime in that roof — among many holes — and buckets of water were pouring in,” Castagna explained.
The STU told FOX40 that if there are other tenants out there that find themselves in a similar situation, they do want to hear from them because the organization can provide legal help.