COVID19: Housing Policy

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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 (updated October 1, 2021) from the Housing Now! Coalition.

Continue reading for information on current eviction moratorium policies.


California Eviction Protections:

The statewide eviction moratorium ended on September 30, 2021. Alameda County residents, including Oakland and Berkeley, are protected by local eviction moratoriums.

If tenants are eligible for the emergency rental assistance program (ERAP) then they may be protected from eviction for non-payment of rent for another six months (see below).

From October 1st, 2021 to March 31st, 2022, tenants can’t be evicted for non-payment if they’re simply waiting on relief on 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 prove that the tenant’s ERAP application was denied. It is a defense in court for tenants to tell their landlords they applied for rent relief, along with having provided the landlord a signed declaration of COVID-19 related financial distress — both within 15 business days of receiving a 3-day notice. 

Current law shields tenants from eviction if they’ve paid at least 25% of their total rent due before September 30th, 2021. Also, tenants cannot be evicted over any rent owed between March 1, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2020 — as long as they respond to their landlord’s eviction notice with a signed declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress. However, moving forward, tenants can no longer submit declarations of financial distress forms in lieu of paying rent beginning October 1, 2021 and those who did not pay 25% of total rent due before September 30th may be evicted for failure to pay rent.  


NOTE: AB 832 did not forgive or cancel missed rent, however, for tenants who qualify, it converted all missed rent accrued from March 1st to August 31st, 2020 to consumer debt. While tenants are shielding from eviction, starting November 1st, 2021, landlords can sue in small claims court to collect missed rent accrued during that period, but that debt cannot be used to evict the tenant at any point in the future.

Modified civil procedure will be in effect from October 1, 2021, until March 31, 2022 (see below).

Starting October 1, 2021, landlords serving a Notice to “Pay or Quit” concerning rent due between October 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, must give tenants at least 3 business days

NOTE: Pay or Quit Notices served for unpaid rent that came due between March 1, 2020 – Sept 30, 2021, must still comply with pre-October 1 requirements (e.g. 15-day notice period). 

The modified court procedure referenced above applies if a landlord is filing an unlawful detainer action-based, in whole or in part, on the Tenant’s failure to pay rent any time between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2022; and the tenancy was established before October 1, 2021.

A court is not allowed to issue a judgment or default until it finds that 1) The landlord is filing an unlawful detainer action-based, in whole or in part, on the Tenant’s failure to pay rent any time between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2022; and 2) The Landlord’s application was denied because the tenant was ineligible for the program, no more funds were available, or the Tenant failed to complete their portion of the application within 15 business days of the Landlord completing their portion. 

If tenants are eligible for the emergency rental assistance program (ERAP), then they may be protected from eviction for non-payment of rent for another six months.

In order to be eligible for ERAP, 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’s protections on non-payment evictions, no-fault evictions, most rent increases and late fees, expired with the state’s eviction moratorium on September 30th, 2021. 

As of October 1st, qualified residents can still apply for rental assistance by visiting housing.ca.gov or calling (833)430-2122. To qualify, tenants must make less than 80% of area median income (AMI), have experienced a COVID-related financial hardship, and be at risk of housing insecurity. 

Similar to state protections as of October 1, 2021, 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 had paid the 25% of the total rent owed during that period by September 30, 2021.

NOTE: missed rent isn’t canceled 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.

Here are one-page eviction rental assistance fact sheets for Contra Costa County provided by Ensuring Opportunity in English and Spanish (below). You can also find a tenant and landlord resources guide from the County 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.

City: Concord

Concord’s local moratorium expired in 2020, and the statewide eviction moratorium expired on September 30, 2021. Please see this fact sheet and information above for protections after October 1, 2021.

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.

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.

City: Richmond

On March 23rd, 2021, the City issued a stringent moratorium on almost all evictions until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency. With the state eviction moratorium’s protections ending on September 30, 2021, tenants can now be taken to court by landlords over missing rent payments. Please see this fact sheet and information above for protections after October 1, 2021. The local ordinance still 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 San Pablo’s local moratorium expired on July 28th, 2020, and the statewide eviction moratorium expired on September 30, 2021. Please see this fact sheet and information above for protections after October 1, 2021.

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. Click here to view the City’s information on the current status of the moratorium and rent relief.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 megan@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.