On January 29, 2021, the Governor signed the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (Act) extending much needed eviction protections to landlords and tenants and creating the state’s Rental Assistance Program.
EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENDED
The Act extends tenant protections included in AB 3088 to June 30, 2021. These protections were originally set to expire on February 1, 2021. The Act includes the same eligibility and program rules as before including:
- Pauses all evictions for tenants experiencing COVID hardship.
- Exceptions for just cause and health & safety evictions.
- Available to any tenants who attests under penalty of perjury that he/she has not been able to pay full rent due to COVID circumstances.
- If a tenant pays at least 25 percent of his/her rent owed between September 2020 and June 2021, the balance due of that tenant’s rent converts from rental debt to civil debt.
- This means that, while the debt remains owed, it can never be the basis for an eviction going forward.
RENTAL ASSISTANCE IS COMING
Included in the Act was the creation of the state’s Rental Assistance program. Our Agency is in full swing to develop the program with input obtained through our stakeholder process. The program is available for tenants at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), with a priority emphasis on helping tenants at or below 50 percent of AMI. Landlords can choose to accept 80% for any rent owed from April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021. If a landlord accepts this funding, the landlord forgives the remaining 20%. If a landlord chooses not to participate, the tenant can still apply for relief valued at 25% of whatever back rent they owe for the covered time period. The program will be ready to begin accepting applications no later than March 15, 2021.