CONCORD, Calif. — Concord resident Marta Gonzalez, an immigrant from Mexico, said her troubles with her building manager started last summer. After a series of rent increases that drove up monthly rates by $200 to $300 every time a lease ended, Gonzalez, a member of the nonprofit Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and other residents in the complex began to organize an effort to stabilize the rents there.
Not longer after, Gonzalez said, her children and others at the complex who play outside started receiving threats from the building manager that she would call immigration enforcement officers to the complex. After being threatened with eviction, Gonzalez and her family had to fork over an extra deposit to be able to stay in the apartment, which now costs them $3,000 a month.
Their situation is an example of what immigrant and tenant advocates in California say is a pattern that has troubled them in recent months: more landlords and building managers harassing or threatening immigrant tenants because of their real or perceived immigration status. They hope a bill making its way through the state Legislature will boost the rights of tenants like Gonzalez, who fear punishment for trying to negotiate rent or even report habitability issues.