While the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz is responsible for ensuring that tenants and landlords comply with HUD program regulations, the Housing Authority does not have the power to enforce state or local laws, nor are we qualified to provide any legal advice.
Instead, there are a variety of resources available in the community that can offer legal information, legal representation, mediation, and advocacy.
If you need legal assistance or mediation services, please contact one of the organizations below. Please note that the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz does not specifically endorse any of the resources or agencies listed below.
- California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) – Non-profit law firm that provides a full range of legal services to low-income residents of Santa Cruz and San Benito County who are under the age of 62. Services include legal information, representation, and advocacy. If you are a low-income resident aged 62 or older, you may be eligible to receive services though another agency listed below.
- Senior Citizens’ Legal Services – Non-profit law firm that provides a full range of legal services to low-income residents in Santa Cruz County aged 62 and older. Services include legal information, representation, and advocacy.
- Conflict Resolution Center of Santa Cruz County – Non-profit organization that provides affordable tools, training, and guided medication processes for people in conflict. Services include housing mediation, counseling, conflict consultation, and mediation training.
- Tenant Sanctuary – Non-profit organization in the City of Santa Cruz that offers information, education, housing counseling, and advocacy to help renters understand and assert their rights.
- Watsonville Law Center – Non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals on the Central Coast.
- Lawyer Referral Service of Santa Cruz County – This agency can help direct you to an attorney that best suits your needs. Individuals interested in receiving a referral will be charged a $50 administrative fee in exchange for a phone appointment and referral.
- Self-Help Center of the Superior Court of California, Santa Cruz – Free assistance to self-represented customers for a variety of basic legal issues.
Tenant-Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
To learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant or landlord, some of the information below may be helpful:
California Department of Real Estate
- California Tenants – A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities
This 142-page comprehensive guide explains the legal requirements and legal options in common tenant-landlord situations.
- Know Your Housing Rights Fact Sheet
This fact sheet provides an overview of basic tenants’ rights when renting a housing unit.
- Quick Guide for Tenants Renting a Home
This guide provides some tips for preventing problems and protecting yourself from housing fraud.
- Quick Guide for Landlords Hiring a Property Manager
This guide provides some tips for preventing problems and protecting yourself from fraudulent property managers.
California Civil Rights Department
- Fair Housing Guides and Fact Sheets
Check here for a variety of information about anti-discrimination rights and protected classes.
- Housing Discrimination Information
Visit this webpage for basic information about protected classes and illegal discrimination related to housing.
- Santa Cruz Public Library Tenant-Landlord Information Resources
The Public Library has a collection of books and other publications related to tenant-landlord law.
- City of Santa Cruz Neighborhood Services Team Landlord Training Manual
This manual may help you with crime prevention at your property.
- City of Santa Cruz Large Rent Increase Ordinance FAQ
The City of Santa Cruz passed an ordinance related to rent increases that may impact your tenancy.
- AB-1482 – “Tenant Protection Act of 2019”
Some tenancies may be covered under AB-1482. This legislation may limit how much a landlord can raise the rent and may limit the instances for which a landlord can issue an eviction notice.
An amendment to the California Fair Housing and Employment Act that prohibits discrimination based on source of income, including housing choice vouchers.
An amendment to the California Fair Housing and Employment Act that prohibits discrimination based on source of income and on veteran or military status.
File a Housing Discrimination Complaint
If you believe that you have been subject to housing discrimination, you can file a complaint online with the US Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity or with the California Civil Rights Department. A physical complaint form from the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity can be found here. The complaint form will instruct you where to mail it.