Hope in Devastation

Last month approximately 14,000 San Jose residents were evacuated from their homes after the Coyote Creek flooded. Now, weeks later, over a hundred affected homes are still uninhabitable. Rock Springs, the neighborhood hardest hit by the flood, is primarily home to low-income Latino and Vietnamese families. Many are living in shelters, cars, with friends, or, if they can afford it, in hotels. Many of those displaced have questions about their legal rights as they try to put their lives back together.

The Law Foundation responded immediately to the need for legal services following the flood by preparing know-your-rights materials and coordinating with other non-profit and government agencies. Our attorneys met with displaced tenants onsite at a community center and at San Jose City Hall.  Most of the tenants we talked to lived in apartments that had been "yellow-tagged," which means that, even though the apartment was cleared for entry, there are still structural problems or issues with providing necessary utilities like water, gas, or electricity-making the home unlivable.  

We met with more than 100 tenants who had questions about rent, their right to move back after their landlords finished making repairs, and about damage to their personal property. We helped them understand their options, including the right of tenants in rent controlled apartments to file petitions for rent reductions with the City of San Jose's rental rights and referrals program.  We also provided advice about talking to their landlords, suggesting they write everything down and to immediately call us if they run into problems or receive an eviction notice.

Tenants affected by the flood who have questions about their legal rights can contact our office at (408) 280-2424.  We serve clients regardless of immigration status, and we keep all information confidential.