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California’s eviction moratorium is ending. Here’s what local renters and landlords need to know

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Courtesy: Rachel Showalter
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California's eviction moratorium is ending September 30. The state's rental relief program may help tenants and landlords.

California’s eviction moratorium is ending September 30, after two extensions.

The law kept tenants safe from eviction if they were unable to pay rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship. It also prevented ‘no-cause’ evictions which allowed landlords to evict tenants for any reason as long as a 30 or 60-day notice was given to tenants.

Now that the moratorium is ending, landlords may begin evicting tenants unable to pay future rent due to the pandemic.

Stephanie Barclay is the legal director at San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation (SLOLAF). The nonprofit provides free legal services to low-income SLO County residents, primarily in the area of housing and evictions.

Barclay said California does, however, have a COVID-19 rental relief program that tenants and landlords can apply for if they qualify, potentially preventing tenants from being evicted.

“If a landlord moves forward now, and tries to evict a tenant whose application is pending, the tenant will be able to, under the law, stop the court from going forward on that.”

“That program will cover 100 percent of unpaid rents and utilities due from April 1, 2020 to the present, as well as provide some future rent and utilities help,” Barclay said.

She said tenants who missed rent from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020 can never be evicted for failing to pay as long as they presented their landlord with a Declaration of COVID-19-Related Financial Distress.

Tenants who missed rent from September 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021 also cannot be evicted for that unpaid rent if they pay 25 percent of it and submit a hardship declaration by the end of this month.

Full rent is still owed to the landlord but tenants can never be evicted for not paying it. Landlords can sue for missed rent in small claims court.

Eligible tenants for rental relief are those who have experienced a pandemic-related financial hardship like losing work, seeing a decrease in business revenue or taking time off due to illness. Household income must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in SLO County in 2019 was nearly $74,000.

As of September 21, nearly 330 households in SLO county had received state rental relief with the average household assistance totaling about $10,000.

To apply for relief, visit housingiskey.com.

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