Don’t blacklist tenants for asserting rightsWednesday, September 7, 2016
The Sacramento Bee – By David Chiu
In 2015, Endia Cleveland – an Oakland native and mother – was hopeful that she and her family would soon have a new apartment to call home. She submitted more than 10 applications but was denied without explanation.
Scrambling to find housing, Cleveland and her 6-year-old daughter rented hotel rooms until that became unaffordable. Then she slept on friends’ couches. For six months, they shuffled around so much that Cleveland’s daughter began to ask, “Where are we going to sleep tonight?”
Then came the kicker: Cleveland was told that her rental applications were denied because of an eviction in 2009, which showed up on tenant screening reports. This was news to Cleveland, as she had not been evicted. Not in 2009. Not ever.
Although Cleveland was named in an eviction lawsuit in 2009, that lawsuit did not result in a judgment against her, and the landlord lost the property in foreclosure. Cleveland was found guilty without being given a chance to prove her innocence.
Yet because the landlord did not dismiss the case, the court records became public after 60 days, as required by law. Tenant screening companies captured Cleveland’s name and, as she would find out, she was shut out of the rental market.