Nilo had been struggling for years with her negligent landlord. On a tour around the property, she pointed out many longstanding problems to a KVPR reporter: a leaking roof, mold, a rotted bathroom floor, foundation cracks, and a broken window.
Despite those risks, Nilo’s landlord said it would take several days to address the leak, so Nilo called code inspectors from the City of Farmersville and Tulare County for help.
California state law requires homes to be in good condition and to have heating and electricity. Without working gas and with the building in such poor condition, Nilo’s home didn’t qualify, KVPR says. Code enforcement declared the home unsafe, and the family had to move.
“I just wanted them to fix it, so I could leave when I was ready to leave,” Nilo told KVPR. “I brought all my kids home here. … I didn’t want to be told, ‘Hey, you got to do your goodbyes, you got to get your kids somewhere to go and have all your stuff out in 72 hours.’ Especially after paying my rent, you know, it’s not like I was evicted.”
Sara Hedgpeth-Harris, head of the housing team at Central California Legal Services, told KVPR, “The county declares that the tenant is eligible, that the landlord pays the relocation fees, and if they don’t, then the tenant ends up having to go to court to get them. Of course, you can never get that kind of money in time to actually be useful in relocating, so it’s really problematic for really low-income tenants finding that money.”
According to KVPR, Nilo paid out of her own pocket for a U-Haul and a month’s stay at a hotel while she applied to 11 different rentals. The home where she eventually settled cost $400 more per month than her original house.
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