On an acrimonious final night of its session, the Legislature approved a bill to head off evictions of tenants who have been unable to pay their rent because of the coronavirus pandemic and to keep out-of-work Californians in their homes through the beginning of next year.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure shortly before midnight. It takes effect immediately.
The legislation, AB3088, grants tenants who have lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic a reprieve on their missed rent and gives them five more months before they must start paying again in full.
Landlords would have to give residents 15 days to affirm under penalty of perjury that they have lost income because of the coronavirus. Those who make more than 130% of the median income in their area, if it is above $100,000, could be asked to show proof — an attempt to crack down on wealthier tenants who have engaged in solidarity “rent strikes” during the pandemic.
Renters who do not make this declaration to their landlord could be evicted for nonpayment starting Oct. 5, while cases that do not involve a tenant who cannot pay because of the pandemic could begin immediately in most of the state. A few Bay Area communities have extended their eviction freezes further — to the end of September in San Francisco and to the end of the year in Alameda County.
Lawmakers are counting on the possibility that the federal government might provide a bailout for tenants and landlords in the coming months, giving them an opportunity to craft a new solution next year.
The measure would provide no direct financial relief for landlords, but would temporarily extend some additional foreclosure protections those who own no more than three rental properties, each containing four or fewer units. If any of their tenants are unable to pay rent because of the pandemic, those landlords would be protected through 2023 under a state law that requires their mortgage servicers to contact them at least 30 days before foreclosure to explore alternatives.
If you own property that fits this criteria, contact us today to evaluate your options!