Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation extending California’s moratorium on evictions related to nonpayment of rent through June 30. But do you know how it applies to you?
Below are answers to some questions we’ve received from tenants and landlords:
Should I still pay my rent?
Yes. While landlords cannot evict you for non-payment of rent through June 2021, to avoid eviction after June, you need to have paid at least 25% of your rent between Sept. 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
Make sure you keep all receipts for rent paid.
If you’re not able to pay all or some of your rent, send a written explanation to your landlord before the fifth of each month, explaining why you cannot pay rent, and how it is related to the pandemic. (Examples might include direct loss of job or income, or indirectly, because of providing care for a child or family member.)
I can’t pay my rent/mortgage. Where can I apply for housing assistance?
At this time, most pandemic-related housing assistance is available through local governments and limited to direct applications by renters and homeowners, although in the future landlords may be able to apply for some assistance directly. Check your city or county’s website for more information about where to apply.
If your city or county is not offering housing-related assistance, call your local 211 number for other available social services.
Many lenders are working with homeowners impacted by Covid-19 on forbearance plans; this does not waive debt but postpones payments to the future.
Fresno renters and homeowners can apply for a grant to cover housing-related costs, if they are impacted by Covid-19. Those interested must apply through one of the following organizations:
- Reading and Beyond: 559-214-0317; www.readingandbeyond.org/our-work/housing-assistance
- The Fresno Center: 559-898-2565; www.thefresnocenter.weebly.com/housing-retention.html
- Centro La Familia: 559-237-2961; www.centrolafamilia.org
- Education and Leadership Foundation: 559-291-5428; www.education-leadership.org
- Jakara Movement: 559-549-4088; www.jakara.org
- West Fresno Family Resource Center: 559-621-2967; www.wfresnofrc.org/housing-retention-program
For Clovis residents: funds are currently not available for the emergency housing grant program, but city administrators are still accepting applications from eligible renters and homeowners, should additional funding materialize. Apply online here or call 559-324-2094 for more information.
For Fresno County residents: renters and homeowners can apply for housing and utility assistance through Centro La Familia Advocacy Services. Visit their website or call 559-237-2961 for more information.
If I haven’t paid my rent, can I get evicted?
It depends. While the state’s rules protect tenants from eviction due to non-payment of rent related to the Covid-19 pandemic, in many cities across California, a landlord can still evict a tenant for a variety of reasons, including non-rent related lease violations, criminal activity, or because they are selling the property.
If you cannot pay your rent, you need to send a written notice to your landlord each month you miss paying all or some of your rent, documenting why you’re unable to pay.
Do I have to pay back the rent I owe?
It depends. If the current deal is approved by the legislature, as much as 80% of unpaid rent, — from April 2020 through March 2021 — could be forgiven by the state, if landlords apply for the relief, forgive the rest of the debt, and not evict the tenant. Renters and landlords will have more information on how to apply for rent forgiveness in March. Check this website out for more updates.
If landlords refuse to accept these terms, they can still pursue the full amount of rent owed in small claims court and file an eviction. In that scenario, a renter may apply to the state for up to 25% of rent owed.
I just got an eviction notice from my landlord. What should I do?
Before a landlord can officially file an eviction notice, they must give you three days to fix the problem. If you think you are being illegally evicted, call Central California Legal Services legal advice line at 1-800-675-8001 or learn more through the California Courts’ eviction self-help guide. For readers outside of the San Joaquin Valley, a full list of legal service providers in California can be found here.
Can my landlord raise my rent right now?
Yes, although there are limits. Under AB 1482, landlords cannot raise rent more than 5%, plus inflation, per year. This rule excludes most single-family homes and apartments built in the last 15 years.