COVID19: Housing Policy

image of a blue sky and a red brick apartment building with a yellow banner through the center of the picture that reads Housing Policy & Covid19

Housing policies are changing quickly to respond to the needed tenant protections and funding sources to keep people housed and provide housing resources for people currently living outside or in jails. Below is a list of housing policy updates that affect East Bay residents and providers of non-profit housing, non-profit service providers, and non-profit housing developers.


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.

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


Eviction Moratoriums

Contra Costa County:

The Contra Board of Supervisors issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons, with the exception of owner-move-in evictions; most rent increases; and late fees until September 30th. For tenants who can demonstrate a “substantial” loss of income due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 120-day repayment period without late fees before eviction is permitted. In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay within 14 days of missed payment.

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 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 ordinance covers the 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 here.

City: Antioch

Antioch issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until May 31st, the expiration of the local emergency, or the expiration of the state emergency, whichever is later. For tenants who can demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 6-month repayment period with no late fees before eviction is permitted, unless another state or local law is passed in the meantime that extends that period In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay within 14 days of missed payment.

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. Tenants will be given a 90-day repayment window for each month of rent missed during the moratorium. This means that if you’re unable to make full rent payments for three consecutive months, then you will have 270 days (9 months) to pay down the debt after the moratorium expires. In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay at least 7 days before rent is due and provide supporting documentation within 3 days of missed payment.

City: Richmond

Richmond issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons as well as most rent increases during the state of emergency. For tenants who can demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 12-month repayment period with no late fees before eviction is permitted. In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay within 30 days of missed payment.

City: El Cerrito

El Cerrito issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until July 28th, the expiration of the local emergency, or the expiration of the state emergency, whichever is later. For tenants who can demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 6-month repayment period with no late fees before eviction is permitted. In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay within 30 days of missed payment.

City: Pinole:

Pinole issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until July 15th. That ordinance has now expired, leaving residents covered under the Contra Costa County moratorium (cited 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. For tenants who can demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 6-month repayment period with no late fees before eviction is permitted. In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay within 15 days of missed payment.

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. That ordinance has now expired, leaving residents covered under the Contra Costa County moratorium explained above. For tenants who demonstrated a financial hardship due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 12-month repayment period (until July 28th, 2021) with no late fees before eviction is permitted. In order to qualify, tenants must have notified their landlord of their inability to pay within 14 days of missed payment.

Alameda County:

Alameda County issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons until 60 days after the expiration of the local health emergency, but no sooner than 60 days after December 31st, 2020. This applies to tenants and homeowners alike. For tenants who are financially impacted by the coronavirus crisis, the ordinance allows a 12-month repayment period without late fees. This is on a rolling basis. So if you were unable to pay your rent on May 1st, 2020, then you have until May 1st, 2021 to pay that debt. At the end of 12 months, any remaining back rent is converted into a consumer debt. But impacted tenants can never be evicted for their inability to pay rent during the emergency period. In order to qualify for these protections, tenants must provide documentation or a sworn statement demonstrating financial hardship within 45 days of receiving a request from their landlord or 30 days of the end of the state of emergency, whichever is later.

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.  You can find a thorough FAQ in English and Spanish here.

City: Albany

Albany issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until  September 30th. For tenants who can demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 6-month repayment period with no late fees before eviction is permitted.  In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay within 30 days of missed payment. While the ordinance doesn’t prohibit rent increases, it allows certain tenants to defer paying increased rent until the moratorium expires. This provision doesn’t apply to tenants who are either covered by AB 1482 or are exempted from rent control by State law.

City: Oakland

Oakland issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-cause reasons for all units covered by the City’s Just Cause ordinance; a moratorium on most rent increases for units subject to rent control; and late fees on missed rents for all units citywide. The moratorium is in effect through until the end of the state of emergency. While missed rent is not forgiven, the ordinance prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who can document a loss of income due to COVID-19 for non-payment of rent during the crisis after the emergency has passed. There is no fixed repayment period. You can read thorough FAQ on the Eviction Moratorium here:

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. For impacted tenants, the ordinance allows for a 6-month repayment period with no late fees before eviction is permitted.

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: Berkeley

Berkeley issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons for the duration of the City’s State of Emergency. For tenants who can demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 12-month repayment period with no late fees to pay missed rent. At that point, tenants can be taken to court to recover missed rent, but they can’t be evicted. The loss of income can be due to a tenant moving out, thus reducing the number of people remaining to pay rent. In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay within 7 days of missed payment. The law also allows impacted tenants – including UC Berkeley students and those who live with them – from breaking a lease early without financial penalties.

In the meantime, the City will spend up to $3 million on rental assistance to people whose incomes are impacted (as well as some small businesses and arts non-profits). The details of how to apply are not yet available. Members of the public are also encouraged to contribute to the fund in order to “match” and extend the City’s contribution. You can find information about how to apply for rental assistance here.

City: Emeryville

Emeryville issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons until September 30th. This applies to all tenants without documentation requirements. Once the order has lifted, landlords will be required to create a repayment plan for missed rent that gives tenants at least 12 months to pay down the debt.

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. However, in order to qualify, a tenant must notify their landlord of their inability to pay due to a COVID-related loss of household income within 5 days of receiving a notice of termination. Once the state of emergency ends, tenants will be required to repay any missed rent according to the following timeline: 50% within 90 days and 100% within 180 days. Landlords are prohibited from charging late fees. The order does not impact evictions initiated before Alameda County issued a shelter-in-place order on March 17th.

City: San Leandro

San Leandro issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until May 31, 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. For impacted tenants, the ordinance allows for a 120-day repayment period with no late fees before eviction is permitted. This grace period can be extended to 180 days if needed. In order to qualify for the extension, the tenant must notify their landlord within 10 days of the original 120-day end date.

City: Hayward 

Hayward issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent and no-fault reasons until September 30th. These protections cover homeowners who fall behind on mortgage payments, as well. 

For tenants who can demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19, the ordinance allows for a 90-day repayment period with no late fees before eviction is permitted.

City: Livermore

On May 5th, Livermore amended the residential components of its eviction moratorium to defer to the Alameda County ordinance. Tenants are thus covered by the protections enacted by Alameda County (see above).

City: Newark

Newark issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until May 31, the expiration of the local emergency, or the expiration of the state emergency, whichever is later. Tenants will still be required to repay any missed rent according to the following timeline: 25% within 45 days, 50% within 90 days, 75% within 135 days, and 100% within 180 days. In order to qualify, tenants must notify their landlord of their inability to pay within 7 days of missed payment.

City: Union City

Union City issued a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent among tenants who are financially impacted by the crisis through May 31st. As a tenant, you must provide your landlord with documentation of financial disruption within 30 days of missing rent. You will have 90 days to repay any missed rent after the state of emergency has ended. Landlords are prohibited from charging late fees.

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. 


California

The California 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 back to March 4th, when California declared a State of Emergency. In other words, if you have had trouble paying your bills since March 4th, then these companies are not allowed to cut off your service.

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 the crisis to delay mortgage payments for 90 days.  However, this relief is not automatic. If possible, you should contact your mortgage issuer to make sure that you are covered before missing a payment. Subsequently, the Judicial Council, which makes policy for the California Courts, issued a moratorium on all foreclosure-related court activity until at least 90 days after the state of emergency.

In addition, while Governor Newsom issued partial orders on evictions, the Judicial Council took comprehensive action to stop evictions statewide. The rule is applicable to all eviction cases, regardless of reason, unless necessary to protect public health and safety. It extends for 90 days after the state of emergency, thus giving tenants some time to repay missed rent before facing eviction.

While a landlord may still file a new eviction in some localities, the tenant will not be required to respond until 90 days after the state of emergency. The courts cannot issue a default judgment against the tenant in the meantime. For eviction cases that are already in process, the courts are required to delay hearings for at least 60 days from when they were originally scheduled. You can find a full description here. The Judicial Council decision only applies to later steps in the eviction process, once it reaches the courts. The city and county ordinances listed above govern the start of the process, like the issuance of eviction notices.


United States

The federal stimulus bill (“CARES Act”) provides $12 billion in funding for housing and homelessness, including $4 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants for homeless services and rental assistance for deeply low-income people, $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants, $1.25 billion for Section 8 voucher support, and more. You can read a full description here

In addition, the bill includes a moratorium on foreclosures (extended until August 31st) 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.

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 120 days. 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 30 days, with an additional 60 days upon request, on the condition that they agree not to evict tenants for non-payment or charge late fees for the duration of that time. 

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. 

The bill also called for a 120-day moratorium on new evictions for non-payment of rent against residents of federally subsidized apartments, including those supported by HUD, USDA, or Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments). However, that provision expired on July 24th. Residents are now entitled to a 30-day eviction notice for any rent that went unpaid during the previous 120 days, giving them a little more time than usual to try to repay their debt before the eviction can proceed. Note: Residents may still be protected by state or local eviction moratoria in their area.

Similarly, multifamily housing providers with a federally-backed mortgage are entitled to a pause on mortgage payments for up to 30 days, with an additional 60 days upon request, on the condition that they agree not to evict tenants for non-payment or charge late fees for the duration of that time. 

The bill also calls for a 120-day moratorium on new evictions for non-payment of rent against residents of federally subsidized apartments, including those supported by HUD, USDA, or Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments). Once the moratorium is lifted, residents cannot be evicted for non-payment during the crisis except through a 30-day notice.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines calling for local governments to cease sweeps of homeless encampments “unless individual housing units are available,” as sweeps have a harmful effect on unhoused people and exacerbate the spread of disease.


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.