eviction moratorium extended
File photo by Hélène Goupil — Nov. 3, 2013

The California legislature voted Thursday to extend the state’s eviction moratorium until June 30. It was set to expire at the end of the month 

To avoid evictions, residents must pay at least 25 percent of the total back rent owed between September 2020 and June 2021, according to Assembly Bill 91. That must be paid by June 30.

Tenants cannot be evicted for failing to repay the remaining 75 percent, but landlords can pursue payment through small claims court. However, they must now wait until Aug. 1, rather than March 1, to go to small claims court. The bill also prevents landlords from charging fees for late rent owed between September and June 30.

The bill also dictates how the state will use $2.6 billion in rental assistance, a mix of state and federal funds. California will prioritize households earning less than 50 percent of the area median income first, then communities “disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” then households who don’t fit the two first qualifiers but earn less than 80 percent of the area median income, according to the bill. 

In San Francisco, 50 percent of area median income is $51,250 for a two-person household and $64,050 for a four-person household; 80 percent of area median income is $82,000 for a two-person household and $102,500 for a four-person household. See the full area median income figures here.

“The whole idea is to leverage the dollars and look at paying back rent about 80 percent, but also get about 20 percent of that rent forgiven,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom when the deal was announced earlier this week. 

Data from the Board of Supervisors Budget and Legislative Analyst’s office puts the current amount of collective rent debt in San Francisco between $135 million and $332 million, and growing every month. 

If landlords decline the agreement to forgive any part of the rent, the state will only pay the required 25 percent of owed debt to ensure the resident is not evicted, at least until July. 

Shanti Singh, legislative and communications director for Tenants Together, said the voluntary nature of the program gives tenants rights groups deep concern, but hopes landlords take the deal, which she sees as fair. Already, many landlords are offering discounts to current lease holders. 

“I think that smaller landlords will probably be more inclined to participate because they’re in the most need,” Singh said. “Landlords who need the rent payments to make their mortgages, especially when banks have not been particularly forgiving.”

According to the bill, 65 percent of the rental assistance funds must be distributed by June 1, and the rest should be distributed by Aug. 1. Without another moratorium extension in a few months, evictions could resume with residents still waiting for tens of millions of dollars in relief. 

When the legislation was first proposed by California Assemblymember David Chiu, the deadline was set for the end of 2021. 

“There’s no way we’re going to be out of the woods by June,” Singh said. “January 31 was an arbitrary deadline. Now we’ve gone and done the same thing, we’ve set yet another arbitrary deadline, June 30.”

Amy Price, a rental assistance manager at the Eviction Defense Collaborative, one of five community organizations responsible for distributing rental assistance funds from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development Give2SF Housing Stabilization Program, said, 

“Now that it’s ten months into it, people are owing anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000 and up … so there’s a lot of panic about that as well.”

The Eviction Defence Collaborative spent January rushing to distribute the last of their remaining funds to tenants at risk of eviction before the previous Jan. 31 deadline, Price said. Now that the deadline has been extended, those five groups have more time to get money in the hands of residents.   

Weekly new unemployment claims in San Francisco have hovered around 5,000 for the most recent month of available data, which was updated Jan. 9. 

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development did not respond to requests for comment, and it remains unclear when San Francisco residents will be able to apply for more aid or how the application process will be different from the Housing Stabilization Program. 

Update 2/3: Mayor London Breed announced that San Francisco will receive $26 million in rental assistance.

Juan Carlos Lara

Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at...

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14 Comments

  1. That’s a positive step, but it’s also half-assed, because it doesn’t consider the landlord’s obligations to pay the mortgage to the bank. I’m really surprised that no government agency has addressed this as a complete package to take care of the tenants and the landlords together. This should’ve been address way back in March, 10month ago!

  2. The landlords have mortgages to pay. If the Federal and Local governments give millions in tax breaks to large businesses, why can they help the landlords? I should disclose that I’m a landlord, and the rents are part of my income, but I work also work, and my work salary pays for part of the rental properties operating costs. The rents income don’t pay for all the rental properties expenses.

  3. Can Mission Local (a great news source!) explain to me where the landlord’s agreement to forgive part of back rent figures into this article. It’s implied but not spelled out. The article also refers to the “voluntary nature of the agreement.” I’m a renter and have a renter friend who could really use this information, and feel stupid for not getting it, but please explain the landlord’s agreement. Thank you.

    1. Hi, I am waiting on the Rent Relief and it only helps from April 2020 through March2021 for 12 months, what’s happens for for months April 2021 through June 2021??? June 30th is around the corner what is the chance of extension with the moratorium????

  4. These things are never clear. It reads to me like this.
    You owe $10,000. Back rent.
    Landlord agrees to waive 20%.
    The total is now $8,000 owed.
    The state pays 20% of $8,000 ($6400)
    The remainder $1600 is to be paid by the tenant. Basically, the landlord loses out on $2000. I could be wrong and probably am!

    My building is 41 units. The time and fees to take people to small claims for eviction in August 2021, would not be worth getting 80% of back rent now.

    It’s up to the landlord though. They could only evict everyone if they sold the building then they also have to pay thousands in relocation for each tenant. I

  5. Since the Democrats abandoned small business during the pandemic, World Gym SF at 16th/DeHaro has broken up with its landlord unable to come to terms after one year of pandemic and only two months of business.

    But it is cool, the City has issues grants and contracts to nonprofits to handle the means testing for the paucity of performative mitigations trickling out way too late.

  6. im in mid-city California im 900 dollars behind on rent can someone please help me I’m a disabled veteran who happens to trans gendered no one will help me please I’m begging you please help me. jeredaniels5237@gmail.com

  7. I am selling my home california is destroying the rental market period. My tenant never missed worked was blessed with an ample death benefit and yet refuses to move or pay rent because california never considered people with ill intent taking advantage of the “system” never requiring proof of income loss due to the pandemic or any punishment for lying. I am required to pay property taxes insurance and a lawyer to sell my own house my tenant did not pay enough to cover any expenses and because she knows she does not qualify for aid im just out ..I wont know where she works or moves (eventually) and its up to me at my expense to persue that information to go to court..I am not the only one . There are no advantages or owner rights protected. TRY renting a house or anything else in california in 2 years.. No other state in the union will have more exodus or bigger rental problems. Landlords will not trust tenants the rental laws or politicians in this state to protect their investment or distribute justice fairly or equally currently all the burdens are on landlords who cant even maintain their properties or prevent them from destruction …it is theft and it is wrong with all rights going to unpaying (purposely) tenants but to those who are truly suffering I wish you well but I was forced to sell a home I once loved because of unfair legislation and I do hope everyone who was honest and needs a home finds one bit it wont be mine.. god bless

    1. I am 200% agreeing with Kathy, I am in the same boat. It’s not fair the government bodies and legislators are always talking about tenants’ protections and ignore the Landlords. I have been even paying for my tenant’s utilities (water, trash) part of the HOA, and now the HOA has increased the payment starting from Jan 2021. My tenant paid $0 rental from Apr 2020 till date, not even comply with the 25% state requirnment.

  8. Definitely an unfair taking of property by the government. I follow this page a lot because I live in the Mission and wanted to give different point of view from a lot of the articles they publish. They have pushed this eviction moratorium too far. They always justify saying they are trying to avoid an “eviction cliff”, but when this is over, all the evictions are going to happen at once. Lawmakers always say, “they are not cancelling rent, and it is eventually do” is just a stop gap. Tenants who cannot pay one month behind, are not going to be able to pay 10 month of back rent. This deal basically forces the landlord to forgive 20% of rent. Profit Margins for rental propertys is small after insurance, tax, and mortgages. This is the price Landlords have to pay out of pocket. Mortgages are still due. This deal only helps the lower income tenants too. People who made the average will probably not get any funds. Now the governent says they will help them pay 25% until June. So landlords will only get 25% of the rent payment. And then in June they will have to spend more money in small claims court. Landlords will probably not be able to get a judgement until 2023 because of the back logs. And these tenants will probably hold out as long as they can and just “settle”.

  9. I haven’t been able to sleep because my tenant has not paid anything, not even the 25%, since March 2020. I also pay her utilities. There’s no way I can see ever getting paid for anything, can’t evict, my attorney just shrugs. It’s unconstitutional. This state and country is punishing the people who work and pay the majority of taxes. Tenants are taking complete advantage. It’s stealing!!! How can a gov say are leases no longer matter? Our contracts are null and void? Do we live in China? It’s hard enough to provide housing, now they’ve made it impossible. Good luck trying to find a rental when this is all over. I’m selling my rental too ASAP and I’ll still lose money in the end.

  10. Definitely stealing from the landlords. California is basically nulling lease agreements. “forgiving” 20% may not seem a lot to those who don’t own or have rentals, but landlords only profit about 5-10% after insurance, tax, mortages are due. And thats in a perfect world where nothing breaks and your tenants are good. SB-91 is also just a stop gap and only mostly cover poeple whose income is 80% below the AMI. Those who make above that are not covered for the 80% reinbursement. BUT if you do make above that and need help with rent, the state would pay 25% of your rent. Just to get you to the June deadline.

    Basically State will pay the landlord the bare mininum so landlords can’t evict them. After that, it is the Landlords responsibility to pursue the debt. What makes you think tenant pay back over a year of back rent? Unfair for small landlords who spent years saving for an investment.

  11. As a landlord, this does US no good. Nowhere has ANYONE thought of the landlords in this situation which is completely unfair. Keep in mind, these Bills, are completely ILLEGAL!!!

  12. Yes, the government is not thinking about what landlords have to deal with. My tenant lives in my master bedroom and has not paid rent since January. 4 months now! I have limited income and with her not paying it now has put me in a bind. She is unemployed but I see she is not looking for a job either. She goes on weekend trips and leaves her 17 year old daughter and their dog (who are not on the rental contract). I served her and she still has not responded. I am so frustrated at not being able to evict her. She is absolutely taking advantage of this. Something has got to be resolved soon, the government needs to stop just thinking of the tenants and see the landlords situation.

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