What's at stake?
Fresno renters are still protected from some types of evictions, but they have a few more months to sign up for emergency rental assistance.
Fresno County and city of Fresno residents still have time to apply to emergency rental assistance programs, despite expiring protections at the state level.
SB2179 became law Friday, extending eviction protections through June 30 for renters who have applied to the ERAP, but have not yet received the funds.
However, Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza’s office and Councilmember Miguel Arias confirmed that the new state laws would not impact Fresno’s eviction moratorium or ERAP applicants who apply after April 1.
“Our eviction moratorium will stay in place so long as the City’s emergency declaration is active,” Esparza said. “At our latest Council meeting, I made clear that due to the latest variant and local COVID case rates, as well as the resulting housing market, that the City Council would be extra thoughtful in any potential discussions around the lifting of our emergency declaration and its related protections.”
Harman Singh, the ERAP coordinator at Jakara Movement, said it is important for renters to know they still have local protections in place so that they do not “self evict.”
“As we’re coming to the end of California’s rent assistance program, there’s a fear that with that comes the end of all protections, but that’s not the case at all,” Singh said.
Here are four things to know about the new law and how it affects Fresno.
1. Fresno county, city renters still have time to apply for help
With SB2179 California residents who apply to the state’s ERAP will have eviction protections in place through June 30 if they apply to the program by midnight tonight. The application portal will be closed after March 31. However, the city of Fresno and Fresno County both run their own ERAP and will continue to accept applications after March 31.
2. The eviction moratorium in the city of Fresno will remain
SB2179 suspends any local eviction moratorium put into place after August 2020. The city of Fresno’s eviction moratorium was put into place March 2020 and is tied to the city’s emergency ordinance which is still in place, so it will be allowed to continue. Meaning that Fresno renters cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent if they have notified their landlord of a financial impact due to COVID-19. Fresno County, however, does not have an eviction moratorium in place. The city, nor the county, cannot implement any new eviction protection measures prior to July 1, 2022.
3. Renters must pay debts by August or risk lawsuit
The new law also states that landlords can file a judgment against renters who owe money between August 1 and February 1, 2023 regardless of whether or not a local eviction moratorium is in place, according to a letter from the City Attorney’s Office obtained by The Fresno Bee.
4. There are multiple places to apply for rental assistance
To sign up for emergency rental assistance in the city of Fresno, visit ffresno.gov/mayor/erap or call 559-621-6801. Tenants can also visit or call the following organizations to apply:
- Reading and Beyond: 559-214-0317
- The Fresno Center: 559-898-2565
- Centro La Familia: 559-237-2961
- Education & Leadership Foundation: 559-291-5428
- Jakara Movement: 559-549-4088
- West Fresno Family Resource Center: 559-621-2967
To apply in Fresno County, visit fresnorentalhelp.com/ or call 559-515-4700.