California officials announced Sept. 27 new eviction protections for tenants who did not paid their rent during the pandemic until March 31, 2022.
As California’s eviction moratorium comes to a close on Sept. 30, the new eviction protections that go into effect Oct. 1 will allow tenants who apply for the state’s COVID-19 Rent Relief program to avoid eviction.
“After September 30 for renters to protect themselves from eviction, they have to apply for rent relief because then a court will not take up their evictions until the decision is made on the applications [about whether the tenant qualifies for rent relief],” Russ Heimerich, a spokesperson for the Department of Housing and Community Development, told The Epoch Times.
Tenants who show COVID-19 related financial hardships or are below 80 percent of area median income can apply for rent relief.
“If you have a COVID-19 financial hardship and you qualify for removal relief and let’s say you run into trouble paying your rent in December, you can apply for rent relief and be protected from eviction until we determine whether or not you qualify.”
While there is no deadline to apply, Heimerich urged tenants to do so as soon as possible since the rent relief will continue to be paid out until funds are exhausted.
After the March 2022 end date, tenants face the possibility of eviction if rent goes unpaid.
Lawmakers extended statewide eviction protections under existing Assembly Bill 832, which as of Oct. 1 will extend protection to tenants at or below an 80 percent median income.
“Tenants who owe back rent or who will have trouble paying rent on the first of the month should not wait to apply for rent relief,” Department of Housing and Community Development Department Director Gustavo Velasquez said in a statement.
“The sooner they apply for rent relief, the sooner they will be protected from eviction for non-payment of rent.”
As of Sept. 27, $650 million has been distributed to 55,000 households. In addition, $1.5 billion from Round 1 of federal funding has been paid or approved for payment.
“The COVID-19 pandemic left many families without the income needed to cover their rent and stay in their homes,” Consumers Services and Housing Agency Secretary of the Business Lourdes Castro Ramirez said in a Sept. 27 press release.
“Too many tenants have lived with the fear of eviction. We have moved quickly to disburse help to renters and landlords, assisting nearly 55,000 households.”
According to Ramirez, the state has more money left over in the California COVID-19 Rent Relief program and from additional resources.
Tenants will not be required to disclose their immigration status or disclose proof of citizenship when applying for rent relief.