Everyday brings a new issue for Riverside County’s Fair Housing Council’s staff to solve.
Rose Mayes the executive director says their office deals with everything from tenant landlord mediation to to foreclosure prevention, “Any type of housing issues, you name it we deal with it.”
Its the perfect place to ask about rental rate increases that happen more than once a year and fees tacked on to utilities, a problem she says is especially pervasive in our senior community.
“Every complaint that we get into this office is a landlord tenant speaking about they got a notice and the notices on the door we’re going to increase your rent and sometimes quarterly, hey that’s wrong, you can’t do that, according to California Civil Code you can’t do that,” says Mayes.
She says any increase more than 10 percent a year with a lease is fraud, and more than that it’s putting our seniors in life or death situations, “They have to make a decision whether or not you’re going to pay your rent or get your prescription filled, they have to make a decision whether or not they’re going to eat the rest of the month or pay their rent.”
She says people must call the the Fair Housing Council and file a complaint, “What we try to do is find the owner of the property because sometimes talking to the manager, the landlord that is not going to get it we talk to the person that has a lot to lose.”
Mayes says in order for things to change affordable housing shortage must be addressed, “The Housing Authority with Section 8 they are about 15 years a waiting list, now you tell me about that, they may as well not have a waiting list .”
She says if something isn’t done about the affordable housing shortage people will continue to take advantage of our most vulnerable, “I’m very, very concerned we’re headed for another crisis, because we’re headed for a tent city in Riverside County.”