COVID19: Housing Policy

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Tenants in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties are now protected against many evictions by a patchwork of city, county, state, and federal laws. These laws are complex, layered, and subject to legal interpretation and debate. The rights of individual tenants can vary significantly from city to city, unit to unit, and case to case. Therefore, the information below should be considered as a general outline of existing protections. Whenever possible, tenants should seek legal advice to understand their rights and responsibilities given their specific city and circumstances.

Click here to see information on how to apply for RENT RELIEF. You can also view this rent relief fact sheet from the Housing Now! Coalition.

Continue reading for information on current eviction moratorium policies.


California Eviction Protections:

In June, Governor Newsom signed AB 832, which extended the statewide moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 until September 30th, 2021. The main elements of AB 832 remain the same as AB 3088/SB 91. In order to qualify for these protections, a tenant who receives an eviction notice for non-payment of rent must use the form provided to declare under penalty of perjury that they were unable to pay due to COVID-19 within 15 business days. Note: tenants should submit a signed declaration for each month that they’re unable to pay their full rent. You can find a sample declaration here.

If tenants are eligible for the emergency rental assistance program (ERAP) (see below), then they may be protected from eviction for non-payment of rent for another six months. Specifically, from October 1st, 2021 to March 31st, 2022, they can’t be evicted for non-payment if they’re simply waiting on relief from an ERAP application that’s already been approved. In addition, landlords can’t take eligible tenants to eviction court during this period unless they’re able to show that the tenant’s ERAP application was denied or that the tenant didn’t complete their portion within 15 business days. This should give tenants more time to apply for and receive financial assistance in order to resolve the cause of eviction.

AB 832 also makes improvements to the emergency rental assistance program (ERAP) created under SB 91. As with SB 91, in order to be eligible, a tenant must make less than 80% of area median income (AMI), have experienced a COVID-related financial hardship, and be at risk of housing insecurity. (Note that Oakland, Fremont, and Alameda County have created their own eligibility requirements and priorities for assistance; see here.) If eligible, then tenants are now entitled to 100% of back-owed rent accrued since April 1st, 2020. They’re also entitled to 100% of forward rent, if still in financial distress, up to a total of 18 months of relief. Rental assistance is paid directly to the landlord. But it’s no longer contingent on landlord approval. If the landlord of an eligible tenant refuses to participate in ERAP, then the tenant will receive the money directly. They must then pay their landlord within 15 days or face a one-month late fee, if their lease permits such fees.


In the East Bay, residents must apply to a different ERAP depending on if they live in Oakland, Fremont, Alameda County (other than Oakland and Fremont), or Contra Costa County. You can learn more about the specifics of each program on our Get Support page.

You can view a comparison table of all of the following city and county ordinances here.


Eviction Moratoriums

Contra Costa County:

Contra Costa County issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until September 30th, 2020. It also issued a moratorium on some no-fault evictions, most rent increases, and late fees until September 30th, 2021. Due to the passage of AB 832, tenants who attest that they couldn’t pay rent due to COVID-19 can never be evicted for missed rent accrued between March 1st and August 31st, 2020. They can never be evicted for missed rent accrued between September 1st, 2020 and September 30th, 2021 either, so long as they pay 25% of the total rent owed during that period by the end of September. Note: missed rent isn’t cancelled or forgiven; for tenants who qualify for protections under AB 832, landlords will be able to sue to collect missed rent in small claims court starting November 1st, 2021.

These protections extend to all cities and unincorporated areas of the County alike. This means that renters in cities that haven’t passed local ordinances, like Walnut Creek, are now protected by the County ordinance. In cities with local ordinances that address the same subject, however, the City’s law prevails on that subject while the County’s law covers any remaining issues. For example, if a City has an eviction moratorium but not a rent freeze, then the County rent freeze will apply. You can find a detailed FAQ on Contra Costa County’s Eviction Moratorium here.

City: Antioch

Antioch issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until May 31st, 2020, the expiration of the local emergency, or the expiration of the state emergency, whichever is later. In addition to this ordinance, local residents are covered by the Contra Costa County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Concord

Concord issued a moratorium on rent increases for most units and a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until September 30th, 2020. That ordinance has expired, leaving residents covered by the Contra Costa County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: El Cerrito

El Cerrito issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until July 28th, 2020, the expiration of the local emergency, or the expiration of the state emergency, whichever is later. In addition to this ordinance, local residents are covered by the Contra Costa County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Pinole:

Pinole issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until July 15th, 2020. That ordinance has expired, leaving residents covered by the Contra Costa County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Pittsburg:

Pittsburg issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons during the state of emergency. It also restricted rent increases for most units. In addition to this ordinance, local residents are covered by the Contra Costa County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Richmond

Richmond issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons as well as most rent increases until September 30th, 2020. That ordinance expired at the end of September 2020.However, on March 23rd, 2021, the City issued a new and more stringent moratorium on almost all evictions until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency. While non-payment evictions are still governed by AB 832, the local ordinance now prohibits landlords from evicting a tenant for any other reason, with the exception of Ellis Act evictions or issues that present an imminent threat to public health or safety.

City: San Pablo
San Pablo issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons, with the exception of owner-move-in evictions, and rent increases through July 28th, 2020. That ordinance has expired, leaving residents covered by the Contra Costa County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

Alameda County:

Alameda County issued a moratorium on most all evictions until February 28th, 2021 or 60 days after the expiration of the local health emergency, whichever is later. This applies to tenants and homeowners alike. For tenants who can demonstrate a financial hardship due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows a 12-month repayment period without late fees. In other words, the tenant has 12 months from the date that rent was missed to pay it. For example, rent missed on November 1st, 2020 must be repaid by November 1st, 2021, rent missed on December 1st, 2020 must be repaid by December 1st, 2021, and so on. If the tenant is unable to repay missed rent within 12 months from the time it was due, then the amount is converted to consumer debt. This means that the landlord can sue to collect the remaining amount, but the tenant can never be evicted over their inability to pay rent during the covered period. Note: AB 832 appears to have preempted Alameda County’s ordinance on the timeline for repayment. So landlords may be able to sue to collect rental debt starting November 1st, 2021, even if it hasn’t been 12 months since the original rental payment was missed. 

In order to qualify for these protections, tenants should provide a signed declaration, per AB 832, within 15 days of receiving an eviction notice. In addition, tenants are advised to pay 25% of the rent total owed between September 1st, 2020 and September 30th, 2021, if they’re able. However, if they’re forced to choose between paying for rent and paying for essential living supplies, then tenants should choose the necessities. They may still be afforded long-term eviction protections under the County moratorium.

These protections extend to all cities and unincorporated areas of the County alike. This means that renters in cities that have not passed local ordinances, like Dublin, are now protected by the County ordinance. In cities with local ordinances, however, residents are protected by the stronger of the two laws on a provision-by-provision basis.

City: Alameda

Alameda issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent, no-fault evictions, and utility shut-offs until 30 days after the end of the state of emergency. The ordinance also prohibits rent increases for units covered by the city’s rent control or Just Cause ordinances until the end of 2020. Residents are also covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

Landlords are also prohibited from shutting off utilities except in the case of an emergency such as an urgent repair to a water line. 

City: Albany

Albany issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until September 30th, 2020. That ordinance has expired, leaving residents covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Berkeley

Berkeley issued a moratorium on most all evictions for the duration of the state of emergency. Residents are also covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Emeryville

Emeryville issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons until September 30th, 2020. That ordinance has expired, leaving residents covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Fremont

Fremont issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons for the duration of the state of emergency plus 30 days. The order applies to owners and tenants of mobile homes, as well. Residents are also covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Hayward 

Hayward issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons until September 30th, 2020. That ordinance has expired, leaving residents covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Livermore

On May 5th, 2020 Livermore amended the residential components of its eviction moratorium to defer to the Alameda County ordinance. Residents are thus covered by the County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Newark

Newark issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until May 31, 2020 the expiration of the local emergency, or the expiration of the state emergency, whichever is later. Residents are also covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Oakland

Oakland issued a moratorium on most all evictions for units covered by the City’s Just Cause ordinance; most rent increases for units subject to rent control; and late fees on missed rents for all units citywide. The moratorium is in effect until the end of the local state of emergency. While missed rent isn’t forgiven, the ordinance prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who couldn’t pay rent during the emergency period. Residents are also covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: San Leandro

San Leandro issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until May 31, 2020 the expiration of the local emergency, or the expiration of the state emergency, whichever is later. This extends to tenants of mobile homes and RVs, as well. Residents are also covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

City: Union City

Union City issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until May 31, 2020 the expiration of the local emergency, or the expiration of the state emergency, whichever is later. Residents are also covered by the Alameda County moratorium and AB 832 (see above).

Note: If your city is not listed here, it is because we do not have information on any housing-related decisions your city has made. If you know your city council has made a critical housing policy decision, please email alex@ebho.org and we will update our resources. 

For support getting food, emergency rental or mortgage assistance, and other critical needs, see our COVID19- Get Support pages or our list of ongoing resources in our Resource Guide.


California

Governor Newsom announced that most major banks have agreed to allow residential property owners impacted by COVID-19 to delay mortgage payments for 90 days. However, this relief isn’t automatic. If possible, property owners should contact their mortgage issuer to make sure that they’re covered before missing a payment. Subsequently, the Judicial Council issued a moratorium on all foreclosure-related court activity. But that moratorium ended as of September 2nd, 2020.

The Public Utilities Commission issued an order requiring all privately owned water, sewer, energy, and communications providers to maintain service to all customers, including those struggling to pay their service fees due to the pandemic. In the East Bay, this includes PG&E and telecoms companies like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Comcast. These protections extend until September 30th, 2021. The East Bay Municipal Utility District has also agreed to suspend service cut offs due to non-payment until further notice. East Bay MUD and PG&E have offered to work with customers to create flexible and extended payment plans, as needed. You can find up-to-date information on the policies of all utilities here.

California Mortgages and Foreclosures & Evictions

Governor Newsom announced that most major banks have agreed to allow residential property owners impacted by COVID-19 to delay mortgage payments for 90 days. However, this relief isn’t automatic. If possible, property owners should contact their mortgage issuer to make sure that they’re covered before missing a payment. Subsequently, the Judicial Council issued a moratorium on all foreclosure-related court activity. But that moratorium ended as of September 2nd, 2020.


United States

On top of the CDC order, the federal CARES Act included a moratorium on foreclosures (extended until July 30th, 2021) for all federally-backed single-family mortgages (1-4 units), including those covered by HUD, USDA, FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. People in economic distress are entitled to a pause on mortgage payments for up to 180 days, with an additional 180 days upon request. If these units are rental properties, then their tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment or charged late fees during that time. Deferred payments won’t be due until the end of the loan term or the home is sold.

Similarly, multifamily housing providers with a federally-backed mortgage are entitled to a pause on mortgage payments for up to 6 months on the condition that they agree not to evict tenants for non-payment or charge late fees for the duration of that time.

Information for Affordable Housing Providers/Services Providers/Non-Profit Developers:

See Allhomeca.gov/covid-19 for a list of resources specific to affordable housing and services providers.


Get Support, Action, & Volunteer Info

See our COVID19 Action Page to learn how you can take action for expanded housing protections and funding & see what changes advocacy groups are currently pushing for.

Do you need housing, food, help getting medication, or other support as you Shelter in Place? See our list of support available during the COVID19 pandemic or our general affordable housing resources page.