The State of Calif. ratified Assembly Bill 3088 in Sept. which prohibited residential evictions until Jan. 31, 2021 for pandemic-stricken tenants. With the sudden turmoil caused by a record surge in COVID-19 cases, lawmakers are now considering an 11-month extension moving the eviction moratorium deadline to Dec. 31, 2021.
“We are again staring down an eviction cliff that could leave millions homeless in the middle of a deadly pandemic,”Assemblyman David Chiu said in a statement. “We must keep Californians housed and look toward providing relief to struggling renters and landlords.”
Keeping its residents housed should be an objective for every state, but the implications of homelessness doesn’t reverberate anywhere else as loud as it does in the most populous state. An influx of homeless people due to inability to pay rent can have drastic consequences on the overall goal of curving the spread of COVID-19 in Calif.
Furthermore, as the state continues to battle sporadic wildfires and evacuations this late into the year, it’s even more critical not to contribute to homelessness any way possible. This serves as the premise behind two new bills introduced designed to also provide more extensive rental assistance.
“Rental assistance funds not only help keep vulnerable tenants housed, but they also can keep landlords from going under by providing a revenue stream to cover their costs and maintain their properties,” said the letter sent Nov. 22 by Chiu and five other state lawmakers to the Congressional delegations of California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.”
“Stay-at-home orders and the closing of nonessential businesses that began in March have created significant financial stress for many of the state’s 40 million residents, which sparked lawmakers to create the original eviction moratorium several months ago. The sheer size of California, one of the world’s largest economies, often makes it a leader among state legislatures in adopting consumer protections.”
Property owners and landlords continue to be against eviction moratoriums because they are essentially being forced to shoulder the load of unpaid rents. They are absorbing undue burden as ‘able-to-pay’ tenants are choosing to work the system and are not paying their rent on purpose.
“Similar to laws currently in effect, the measure calls for renters with pandemic-related financial hardships to pay 25% of rent owed for the period of Sept. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021. If tenants are able to pay at least 25%, any remaining amounts owed after Dec. 31, 2021, would be converted to civil debt and could not be used as the basis of an eviction.”
Several California Democratic lawmakers are already in support of the new bills.