SACRAMENTO—California’s eviction moratorium was extended until June 30 to allow eligible tenants who have applied for rental assistance to receive their payments as the state runs behind on distributing funds.
Assembly Bill (AB) 2179 introduced by Assemblymembers Tim Grayson (D-Concord) and Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) was passed in the state Senate on March 31 before being urgently signed by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who is currently filling in for Gov. Gavin Newsom while he is on vacation.
“California’s nation-leading rent relief program has provided much needed relief for more than 220,000 households across the state,” Acting Gov. Kounalakis said in a statement. “Today’s action will provide additional time to thousands more who are in the process of acquiring emergency relief.”
The extension applies to tenants who applied for assistance by March 31. Those applicants cannot be evicted while their applications are being processed.
The funds are a part of the state’s $5.5 billion COVID-19 relief program that covers 100 percent of qualified tenants’ late payments, according to the governor’s office.
As of March 29, the state has served less than half of the over 500,000 tenant applications with $2.5 billion in funds being paid, according to the state’s housing agency. An average of $11,400 was paid out per applicant.
While the legislators were largely in favor of extending the moratorium in a 36–1 vote, with three members not voting, those in opposition questioned the support for landlords who have suffered amid the pandemic.
“Any further extension of the statewide eviction moratorium will hurt housing providers who have continued to house tenants with no rental income or rent relief,” the California Rental Housing Association wrote to the Senate in opposition arguing there is no need to extend the moratorium as the pandemic wanes.
The legislation was signed right before the sunset of the moratorium on March 31.