Senate panel votes to handcuff cities on tenant protections

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

A Senate panel voted has voted to slam the door on future efforts by cities, towns and counties to enact their own regulations to protect tenants.

HB 2115 would leave untouched any ordinance that already was in place at the beginning of the year. But the measure, approved by the Senate Government Committee on a 4-3 party-line vote, says anything new would be strictly off limits.

The measure, which already has passed the House, now goes to the full Senate.

Moments later, the same committee approved, on the same party-line vote, HB 2358 which spells out that landlords are free to immediately evict tenants even after they have accepted partial payment of rent from a government program or even a church or housing assistance agency.

That came despite concerns from Zaida Dedolph of Wildfire, formerly the Arizona Community Action Association, that such a radical change from existing law will only exacerbate the state’s housing situation. She pointed out the move comes on the heels of a new report which shows Arizona is the third worst in the nation in having a supply of affordable housing.

The vote on HB 2115 preempting local regulations came over objections from representatives from various communities who urged lawmakers to butt out.

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