Renter’s Rights/ Renter’s Wronged: Accessible Legal Information for Rural Tenants

Tracy Manuel with Shah’ada Shaban, Anderson, Daisy Jimenez, Olivia Kotlarek, Jiwon Choi, John Mahmood, Ana Petraglia, UC Davis

Major cities attract much attention in California’s housing crisis, but people in rural areas are also threatened by displacement. While recent State bills attempt to address these problems (including SB 329’s tenants’ rights protections and AB 1482’s rent caps), much of this legal information has yet to reach the vulnerable populations most affected by housing precarity. While free legal services exist to help rural tenants navigate the complexities of rental housing and evictions, these resources are often thinly spread over wide geographic areas. Because of this, legal misinformation is rampant. Bad advice passed between neighbors and friends can cause tenants to unknowingly make mistakes that result in unnecessary indefensible evictions, credit report penalties, and added difficulties in finding a new place to live.

Approachable legal information can minimize these impacts. This project, in collaboration with Legal Services of Northern California (Redding), seeks to make community legal education accessible for tenants in rural Northern California. Through posters, handouts, and web materials for legal offices and other resource centers, this project uses appealing information graphics and plain language to help tenants understand their rights and their options when faced with potential eviction. By providing sound legal information in a way that is clear, friendly, and easily shareable, the project helps people maintain housing and stay at home in their communities.