Debra Carlton, executive vice president of state government affairs for the California Apartment Association, argues the Legislature should take a more incremental approach, rather than extend the protections for the rest of next year.
“Small landlords can’t wait that long,” Carlton said. “Unless the state or federal government provides some dollars for rent payments, it’ll be a real problem to go into 2021.”
Chiu said his second bill is a work in progress but aims to get relief into the hands of renters and landlords, who already face mounting debts. California renters could owe $1.7 billion in back rent by the end of this year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
“We have to have a very critical conversation about how we're going to deal with the debt crisis, the potential foreclosure crisis that we're facing as a result of many months of renters being unable to to make the rent in California,” said Brian Augusta, the legislative advocate for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.
Lawmakers will have to work quickly. The Legislature isn’t set to reconvene until after the new year. They’ll have just the month of January to strike a deal between property owners and tenant advocates. In order to go into effect immediately, it would need to pass with a two-thirds majority vote.
But California legislators say the state can’t fund rent relief on its own. They’re also pinning their hopes on the federal government and the possibility of another stimulus package.