Resources for Tenants
Legal Aid of Sonoma County provides free, comprehensive representation for low-income tenants in housing matters, including eviction defense, Housing Choice Voucher issues, mobilehome park issues, and habitability issues.
Here are proactive ways to advocate for yourself and bolster your rights as a tenant:
- Attend city council meetings and Board of Supervisor meetings when housing policies that effect tenants are on the agenda. Let your elected officials know that you support tenant-friendly policies like rent stabilization and just-cause eviction!
- Familiarize yourself with major provisions of landlord-tenant law.
- Check your lease if you are unclear about something.
- Try to maintain a positive, friendly relationship with your landlord.
- Talk to your landlord when you have an issue.
- Seek legal help.
- Make reports to Code Enforcement if you feel your unit is not being adequately maintained by your landlord.
- Pay your rent even if you think your landlord is doing something wrong. You can recover paid rent in Small Claims Court.
- Document everything! Get receipts, take pictures, have witnesses, put important communications with your landlord in writing.
- Talk to your neighbors. Form a tenants’ union or join the Sonoma County Tenants Union to get support!
For more information about the newly-forming Sonoma County Tenants Union, please contact Shelley Clark, Housing Policy Attorney at Legal Aid of Sonoma County, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 308-2563, or Beatrice Camacho, Tenant Organizer at North Bay Organizing Project, at email@example.com or (707) 479-5475.
Resources for Tenants
- California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Guidebook
California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities
- Contact these agencies for legal advice:
- Legal Aid of Sonoma County (707) 542-1290
- California Rural Legal Assistance (707) 528-9941
- Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California (415) 457-5025
FHANC offers comprehensive counseling specifically for people who feel they have been discriminated against because of their membership in a protected class, like their race or religion, or have a disability.