Updated 6:20 p.m. Friday, March 27
Tenants who’ve been laid off, furloughed, or seen their hours slashed due to the coronavirus pandemic were told they'd get some relief under a statewide moratorium on eviction enforcement announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday. Newsom's move came after advocacy organizations and some state lawmakers made repeated calls to the governor to provide protection to renters while residents are being told to shelter in place.
Newsom's moratorium, which goes into effect immediately, ostensibly bans the enforcement of eviction orders through May 31 and prohibits landlords from evicting tenants if they’re unable to pay rent because they’ve contracted COVID-19, are caring for someone who has, have lost wages due to the statewide shelter-in-place order or have had to miss work to care for a child who is no longer in school or daycare.
Tenants rights groups and some lawmakers, however, were quick to sharply criticize Newsom's moratorium, calling it misleading. They said although it’s being billed as a moratorium on evictions, the order only delays a tenant's legal window for responding to an eviction filing in court, and that it doesn’t stop new evictions from being filed. Evictions unrelated to COVID-19, such as owner-move-in under the Ellis Act or for any breach of the lease unrelated to rent payments, would still be allowed.
Newsom’s order won’t preempt any measures from cities or counties that offer more protection than the statewide order.
Here are some answers to common questions about renters and tenants protections in the Bay Area:
What do the eviction moratoriums do?
A number of cities and counties across the Bay Area, as well as states nationwide, have passed their own restrictions on evictions. Some go further than others in terms of tenant protections.
In San Francisco, landlords are barred from removing tenants who can’t make rent this month because of reduced income or job loss due to COVID-19. Some examples of that are layoffs due to the shelter-in-place order or from being quarantined, sick or having to pay for medical expenses. The city's eviction moratorium is in place for 30 days, and renters have an additional month to pay back rent or apply for an extension. Mayor London Breed also has the authority to extend the order, if necessary.
In Santa Clara, a temporary moratorium covers residential and small business tenants within the county limits. The order, which was approved on Tuesday, lasts until May 31 and gives tenants an additional 120 days to pay back rent, if they have lost income related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Oakland City Council is holding a special meeting Friday to consider a proposed emergency ordinance that would ban evictions against tenants for any reason, also known as just-cause evictions, until May 31. An exception is if a tenant poses an imminent threat to the health or safety of others on the property. In addition, the proposed moratorium would ban rent increases, late payment fees and evictions for residential and commercial tenants due to coronavirus-related job loss or income reduction.