Sacramento – The Legislature voted to extend the COVID eviction moratorium and Rent Relief Plan extension, action which will prevent mass evictions as the existing moratorium was set to expire on June 30th. Assembly Bill 832 jointly authored by Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino) extends the current eviction moratorium until September 30th, 2021 and increases rental assistance to 100% of back rent owed for tenants and landlords. It is estimated that nearly 900,000 California renters owe an average of $4,600 in back rent. The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey found that 1.75 million California renter households reported “slight” or “no confidence” in their ability to pay the next month’s rent.
“This action helps prevent an eviction cliff that could have seen thousands of renters out on the street and a complete disruption of California’s recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic.” Majority Leader Reyes continued, “I am proud to join as a joint author of this legislation which is a win-win for tenants and landlords and it will help ensure neighborhood stability.”
Key provisions of AB 832 include:
· Expanded payment rates for unpaid rent. The current requirement for landlords to accept 80% payments and forgive the remaining 20% is eliminated. Instead, landlords will receive 100% of rent owed. For landlords who have already received assistance, “top off” payments getting them to 100% payment will be processed automatically.
· Tenants will be able to apply for rental assistance directly.
· Requires rental assistance programs to create a pre-screening process to allow landlords and tenants to easily find out if the tenant meets income requirements (household income less than 80% of the Area Medium Income). Tenants who fill out the application and meet income requirements cannot be evicted.
· Authorizes rental assistance payments to be provided to landlords in situations where the tenant has moved out and now lives in a new place, but still owes rent payments to their prior landlord.
· Allows a tenant to receive full amount due if the landlord doesn’t participate in the program so that they are not carrying it as consumer debt. Tenant must pay landlord within 15 business days of receipt of rent reliefs or face penalties.
· After current eviction protections end on October 1, 2021, tenants cannot be evicted during the next six months so long as they complete an application for government rental assistance.
· Court records related to eviction for nonpayment of rent during the pandemic and to collection of COVID-19 rental debt will be permanently sealed.
For those residing in San Bernardino County visit this website to determine if you qualify for rental relief, https://www.sbcrentrelief.com/.