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Cal State Document

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Renters who remain at a property when they no longer have a legal right to reside at the location may be sued for unlawful detainer. Most often, an unlawful detainer is filed against a renter who is no longer paying rent but continues to occupy a residence. A person may also be the subject of an unlawful detainer if they commit or allow the commission of illegal activity at a rental property. The Los Angeles City Attorney developed the pilot programs under review in this report to "surgically remove" unlawful detainers who were contributing to illegal activities as a method of counteracting gang and drug problems in neighborhoods.

In 1998, the California legislature passed AB 13 84 (Havice, Ch. 613, Statutes of 1998). The pilot programs were based on the program design of the Los Angeles City Attorney. The legislation authorized pilot programs, in selected cities, that empower city attorneys and city prosecutors to evict nuisance tenants when landlords fail to act. The bill authorized a program that allows law enforcement organizations to assist landlords in evicting renters when the landlords fear retaliation from their tenants. Additionally, AB 1384 (Havice) established "partial eviction" provisions in California. This allows the city attorney to evict only the tenant arrested for a drug crime, leaving the "innocent" tenants in the residence.

The goals of the pilot programs are to remove drug dealers from neighborhoods and to provide law enforcement with an effective and efficient option for evicting nuisance tenants. Bill AB 1384 and subsequent legislation for the unlawful detainer (U.D.) pilot programs provide for an evaluation of the program to determine if the programs are meeting these goals. This is the fifth report to the legislature on the U.D. program. Prior reports to the legislature submitted by the Judicial Council demonstrated that this program is being used, but have not fully evaluated the merits of this program.

Consistent with the requirements of Chapter 613, Statutes of2009-2010, the California Research Bureau (CRB) evaluated the 2010 data on unlawful detainer use and outcomes. CRB finds that the program is in use and is supported by the city attorneys and police officers at the pilot locations. However, current data reporting requirements limit the scope of the analysis. In this report, CRB provides the legislature with both an overview of the current program and an alternative program evaluation model to facilitate a more informative analysis in future reports.

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