‘Situational homelessness’: 286 residents still awaiting move-in at apartments near Sac State

Lawyer says residents could pursue class action lawsuit


Jordan Silva-Benham

Construction at Academy 65. The housing complex, located on 65th St. Across from Elvas Ave., has had to delay move-in dates by over three weeks.

The 286 residents who are still awaiting move-in at Academy65, an apartment complex near Sacramento State primarily aimed at students, were asked to sign a lease addendum and general release Thursday, according to some residents.

Academy65 residents were originally scheduled for an Aug. 21 move-in date. However, officials say that construction and delays in obtaining the city’s approval for occupancy have caused that date to be pushed back as late as next Friday.

According to the lease addendum and general release sent to The State Hornet by an anonymous source, those who sign the agreement agree to not pursue action or disparage against Academy65. The source asked to be kept anonymous out of fear of retribution by Academy65.

RELATED: Apartments near Sac State delay move-in for 286 residents

A lease addendum is a document that modifies the original lease agreement and a general release is a legal document that releases one party from the right to pursue legal action against another. A release can be found within a lease addendum.

But according to tenant rights attorney Joseph Tobener, Civil Code section 1953(a)(2) states that tenants cannot prospectively waive rights in a residential lease. This means that until the residents are actually moved in, any attempt to waive their rights to litigate is void. Academy65 did not provide comment on this matter.

Tobener, a San Francisco attorney, has been in the business for 20 years. He says his law firm files 100 lawsuits a year.

“What’s happening to these students is super unfortunate,” Tobener said. “They’re practically homeless.”

According to Tobener, those affected by the delayed move-in could potentially pursue a class-action lawsuit. Tobener said they would be entitled to compensation for the rent that they have already paid, emotional distress for having been forced into “situational homelessness” — defined as homelessness caused by a “life event” — and any costs associated with finding new housing.

The release also restates the two options residents are entitled to as they await move-in, which is currently scheduled for next Friday. However, the lease addendum states that “if move-in to Academy65 is delayed beyond Sept. 6” additional concessions will be provided.

Residents were given the option of either receiving $500 in gift cards or being provided local hotel accommodation (at double occupancy) and an additional gift card allowance of $250 per week. Both options require that the August rent be paid in full.

One resident said that until they sign the lease addendum and release, they will not receive their next set of gift cards.

Alex Garcia, a member of Camp Academy65, a Facebook group for Academy65 residents, said he is “hesitant to sign stuff without someone looking at it.”

Story continues below screenshot.

Screenshot via Facebook

The release also states that the terms are to “be kept confidential except for the parties’ respective attorneys, accountants and tax advisors.” It goes on to say that those who sign the release may not make any disparaging comments, either written or vocally, about Academy65.

Story continues below screenshot.

Screenshot via anonymous source

According to Academy65 General Manager Olivia Moller, “the amendment” that was sent out to residents Thursday is a “mirror” of a document that was sent out last week, “but with revised dates per (their) update given to all residents and guarantors.”

Moller added that while the agreement is between both Academy65 and its residents, Academy65 does not intend to take legal action.

Screenshot via Academy65 website