COVID–19 Eviction Protections

UPDATED APRIL 12, 2022

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

The rights of individual tenants can vary from city to city, unit to unit, and case to case. Please consider this information to be a general outline of existing protections and seek legal advice, whenever possible, to understand your rights given your specific city and circumstances.

Alameda County

Residents of Alameda County are protected by the County’s eviction moratorium until 60 days after the expiration of the local health emergency, which is still in effect. This applies to renters and homeowners living in the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, and Union City as well as the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo, and Sunol.

If you’ve experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19, then you’re protected from ALL evictions except for those based on an imminent threat to public health or safety, a government order to vacate the building, or the Ellis Act, a law allowing your landlord to go out of business. You are still responsible for paying your rent but you cannot be evicted for missed rent that accrued since the start of the pandemic. (If you need rental assistance, click here.) You’re not required to show proof of economic hardship in order to qualify for eviction protections, but if your landlord requests it, it’s a good idea to provide some documentation or a self-declaration about your financial situation within 45 days of receiving that request to ensure that you’re as protected as possible.

You may be entitled to additional protections if you live in one of the following cities:

Berkeley: If you need to break your lease early due to a COVID-related financial hardship, then you’re allowed to do so without penalty.

Oakland: If you live in a rent-controlled unit, then your landlord can’t raise your rent above the Consumer Price Index unless required to provide a “fair return.” This protection extends until the expiration of the local health emergency, which is currently still in effect.

Contra Costa County

Most residents of Contra Costa County are no longer protected by an eviction moratorium. Renters must pay rent from April 1, 2022 onwards in order to avoid eviction. This applies to renters living in the cities of Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Hercules, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Oakley, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, San Pablo, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek as well as all of the unincorporated areas (e.g. Bay Point, El Sobrante, etc.). Renters living in the cities of El Cerrito and Richmond may be protected under their own local ordinances outlined below.

If you are able, you should pay your rent to avoid eviction for non-payment. However, if you were unable to pay rent earlier in the pandemic and followed the proper protocols, you cannot be evicted due to failing to pay during that period.

  • You cannot be evicted for failure to pay rent from March 1st, 2020 to August 31st, 2020 as long as you sent your landlord a declaration of COVID-related economic distress within 15 days of missing a rent payment.
  • You cannot be evicted for missed rent from September 1st, 2020 to September 30th, 2021 as long as you submitted a declaration of distress and paid at least 25% of the total rent owed during that period.

In addition, if you’ve completed an application for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), and are simply waiting for the State to process or pay your claim, then your landlord can’t evict you between now and July 1st, 2022. Note that in order to have this protection, you must have already submitted an application. The State’s ERAP (also known as “Housing Is Key”) is now closed to new applicants.

Whether or not you are waiting for an ERAP payment for past-due rent, you must pay your full rent starting April 1st, 2022 to avoid eviction.

You may be entitled to additional protections if you live in one of the following cities:

El Cerrito: You can’t be evicted for non-payment of rent until the expiration of the local health emergency, which is still in effect, as long as you notify your landlord and send proof of a COVID-related financial hardship within 30 days of missing a rent payment.

Richmond: You can’t be evicted unless it’s based on non-payment of rent, an imminent threat to public health or safety, or the Ellis Act until 60 days after the expiration of the local health emergency, which is still in effect.

Legal Resources

If you’re facing eviction or another issue with your landlord, you may be entitled to free help from one of these organizations:

  • Bay Area Legal Aid – 510-250-5270
  • Centro Legal de la Raza – 510-437-1554
  • Eviction Defense Center (for residents of West County) – 510-452-4541
  • Contra Costa Senior Legal Services (for residents aged 60+) – 925-609-7900

If you have additional questions or see information that looks out-of-date, please email alex@ebho.org.