With state and county eviction moratorium deadlines looming, City Council received an update from staff on what’s ahead for residential and commercial leaseholders impacted by the COVID pandemic.
Janet Jimenez and Jonathan Holub briefed councilmembers on the rules as they currently stand:
- On June 11, Gov. Newsom extended the commercial moratorium through Sept. 30.
- Upon expiration of the moratorium, commercial tenants must commence paying current rent and arrears to avoid eviction:
- Businesses with 21 or more employees have 6 months to repay
- Businesses with 20 or fewer employees have 12 months to repay
Residential evictions through June 30 are prohibited except for the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of rent not due to impacts of COVID-19
- Using the unit for an illegal purpose
- Creating a dangerous and unsanitary condition; and
- An imminent and objectively verifiable threat to the health and safety of someone in the tenant’s household or in the property
Public commenter Nathan Miller spoke on behalf of mom-and-pop landlords.
“For well over a year,” he said, “the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with government response at every level has ravaged multi-family rental housing industry. Some have depleted their retirement savings or have turned to financing critical items with credit cards in order to maintain essential building operations.”
“An eviction moratorium cannot and should not be a replacement for long-term solutions,” he said.
Jimenez and Holub recommended that the city defer to county and state regulations as they evolve, and councilmembers agreed on the approach.
“I’m open to accepting staff’s recommendation (on commercial evictions) to extend the date till September 30th but with a reasonable percentage of pay back,” said Councilmember Sepi Shyne. “Now that things are opening up I think the businesses can start paying a certain percentage.With respect to the residential moratorium, I’ve been contacted by many residents whose at-home businesses, independent contractors, are still suffering. This is a real problem and people are still facing financial hurdles. We have a homelessness crisis and we need to make sure that people still are able to stay in their homes.”
“My only concern are the mom and pop landlords,” said Councilmember Lauren Meister, who wondered if there was a way to get renters and owners to work together to take advantage of state relief, like the “80/20” program.
SB91 provided the “80/20” program, allowing Landlords who participate in the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program to get reimbursed for 80% of an eligible renter’s unpaid rent between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, if they agree to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent during that specific time period.
Shyne made a motion to wait and see if California extends their deadline and/or the county adopts their ordinance, which will extend the countywide eviction moratorium and applies to all the incorporated cities . If neither are in place, then the motion directs the city manager to adopt an executive order to implement local protections through Sept. 30, although it would be brought back in July for the council to ratify. The motion passed unanimously.