By: Hannah Wiley
September 1, 2020 —
California Gov. Gavin Newsom late Monday announced he signed a law to prevent a looming wave of evictions during the coronavirus outbreak.
The agreement was urgent because the state’s coronavirus eviction ban was scheduled to expire at midnight on Sept. 1, and eviction proceedings could have restarted as early as Wednesday, leaving an estimated 4 million Californians at risk of eviction due to unpaid rent checks.
“COVID-19 has impacted everyone in California – but some bear much more of the burden than others, especially tenants struggling to stitch together the monthly rent, and they deserve protection from eviction,” Newsom said in a press release. “This new law protects tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent and helps keep homeowners out of foreclosure as a result of economic hardship caused by this terrible pandemic.
Assembly Bill 3088 provides five months of relief for some renters who’ve experienced the worst of COVID-19-related financial distress.
Here’s what the new law will do:
- Tenants do not have to immediately repay rent they missed between March and August, although landlords will be able to sue them to recover the money beginning in March 2021.
- Tenants must pay 25% of their rent from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31 to be protected from eviction. Landlords will be able to sue tenants in civil court to obtain unpaid rent. Come Feb. 1, those guardrails expire and tenants would have to start making full payments.
- If renters can’t pay the 25% moving forward, they can be evicted starting Feb. 1.
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The new law is a result of months of negotiations between housing activists who’ve called for a statewide moratorium on all evictions during the pandemic and representatives for landlords who’ve said property owners can’t bear the burden of rent gone unpaid.
“We applaud the Legislature and governor for advancing legislation with protections for tenants truly harmed by COVID, while ensuring that owners can evict nuisance tenants and residents who can afford to pay rent but choose to game the system instead,” Tom Bannon, CEO of the California Apartment Association said in a press release.
Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said the legislation would provide a temporary buffer so renters can “get back up on their feet” and catch up on their missed payments.
“This bill is an imperfect but necessary solution,” Chiu said. “It pains me that it will not stop all evictions,” he said.
This article courtesy of the Sacramento Bee
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