HOME: Eviction Defense and Tenant Stabilization Program

For more information, call our HOME Hotline: 707-843-4432.

The HOME Program helps low-income tenants with eviction defense, Section 8 issues, mobile home park issues, habitability problems and price gouging. We also assist low-income landlords who need help negotiating with tenants.

Our housing team also provides housing outreach services to tenant clients located in remote areas of the County who are unable to come into the office.

  • Helps prevent homelessness by preventing unlawful evictions
  • Ensures that low-income people have safe and habitable homes
  • Helps preserve existing low-income housing
  • Makes landlords repair properties rather than leaving them in disrepair.
  • Helps tenants who must move, achieve time and financial resources, which helps them transition to other units, or have time to locate temporary housing.
  • Helps low-income landlords whose own housing or safety may be at risk due to a problem tenant.

The Homelessness Prevention Project removes barriers to housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and helps keep people on the verge of homelessness, housed.

  • We assist with the following legal issues:
  • Eviction notices
  • Pre-complaint landlord/tenant negotiation
  • Expungements and other criminal record issues
  • Challenging denials or reduction in public benefits
  • Consumer debt
  • Clearing past evictions
  • Vouchers/subsidized housing issues
  • Housing discrimination

Impact of the HOME Program

This program assists over 600 families and individuals each year.

HOME improves the quality of rental housing and helps stabilize low-income tenant families in a precarious housing climate.

Actual Stories of How HOME Helps Tenants

Bill’s Story

Bill is a Section 8 housing voucher holder who is disabled and has lived in his apartment for over 19 years. William was served with an eviction notice after false claims by his neighbor were made. Had he been evicted, Bill would have been homeless.

LASC investigated the neighbor’s claim and disproved it. LASC staff represented Bill through litigation and successfully attained a stipulated judgment in his favor. This judgment enabled him to stay in his home and not pay any attorney’s fees. Bill avoided homelessness and was able to remain in his home of 19 years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Tenants

For a furnished unit, a landlord may charge no more than three months rent. For an unfurnished unit, a landlord may charge no more than two months rent.

Yes, your landlord may charge a late fee for late rent, but late fees cannot be punitive (anything more than $50 would probably be considered too much).

If you have a fixed lease, your rent cannot be raised during the lease term, unless your lease allows it.

The California State Legislature just enacted a Rent Cap; each year your landlord is allowed to raise rent by:

  • 5% of the current rent + the percentage change in CPI; or
  • 10% of the current rent, whichever is lower.

Increases can be implemented in up to two separate increases each year.

This law excludes units built in the last 15 years and single-family homes.

Your landlord can only enter your unit for the following reasons and must give 24-hour written notice before doing so, unless she is entering due to an emergency:

In the case of an emergency

  • When a tenant has moved out or abandoned the unit
  • To make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, alterations, or improvements
  • To show the unit to prospective tenants, purchaser, or workers
  • By court order

Your landlord must maintain your unit to prevent:

  • Damp, leaking ceiling and/or walls
  • Holes in walls, floor, and/or carpet
  • Falling plaster and/or peeling paint
  • Inadequate heat and/or hot water
  • Missing or broken windows
  • Missing or broken smoke detectors
  • Rats, roaches, and/or insects
  • Inadequate trash collection
  • Unsafe stairs and/or railing
  • Inadequate security
  • Defective electrical wiring

If you feel your landlord is not maintaining unit to level of law, you can report your landlord to your city’s Code Enforcement.

Your landlord may not impose a retaliatory rent increase or eviction within 180 days of when you request repairs or make other demands.

The California State Legislature recently enacted Just-Cause Eviction. Your landlord must notify you of the reason you are being evicted. There are two types of reasons that your landlord can evict you: no-fault evictions (like if the landlord wants to move in or substantially remodel the unit) or at-fault evictions (like if you violate your lease or are not able to pay rent).

If you are subject to a No-Fault Eviction, your landlord has to pay you Relocation Assistance. Relocation Assistance is one-month’s rent. You should be given the choice of receiving this payment either:

  • In a lump sum within 15 days after giving you Notice of your eviction; or
  • A waiver your last month’s rent.

If you have a periodic tenancy, like a month-to-month tenancy, you are entitled to:

  • 60-days notice if you have lived in the unit for one year or more.
  • 30-days notice if you have lived in the unit for less than one year.
  • 90-days notice if you have Section 8, and your landlord has no reason for eviction; or if your unit is in foreclosure.

Your landlord can issue a 3-day notice for lease violations like:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Violation of lease agreement
  • Nuisance (substantially interfering with other tenant)
  • Waste (permanent lowering of value)
  • Illegal activity

However, if the lease violation is curable, your landlord must give you the opportunity to cure the violation, like pay your rent or make a repair.

If the Notice is a 3-day and the lease violation is curable, try to cure the lease violation as soon as possible and speak with you landlord.

If the Notice is a no-cause eviction notice, you should do your own research or consult an attorney that specializes in landlord/tenant law to make sure the notice is valid.

Your landlord can file an unlawful detainer (an eviction complaint) against you. If you are served with an Unlawful Detainer, you have five days to file an Answer to the complaint. Then your case will be set for trial.

Your landlord may use your security deposit for unpaid rent, to make the unit as clean as it was when you moved in, or to repair damage beyond normal wear and tear.

Within 21 days of moving out, your landlord must refund your security deposit or give an itemized statement of what she used the security deposit for.

You may take your landlord to Small Claims Court if you feel your security deposit was unfairly withheld.

The California State Legislature and the Santa Rosa City Council recently enacted Source of Income Protections for Housing Choice Voucher Holders. These protections make it unlawful for a landlord to discriminate against a person just because they have a Voucher. That means a tenant cannot be denied a rental or evicted from their current rental just because they have a Voucher.

You should contact Legal Aid of Sonoma County or Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California if you feel you have been discriminated against because you have a Voucher.