California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Friday that extends eviction protections through the end of June.
Last year, Newsom signed a law that banned evictions for unpaid rent for tenants who paid at least 25% of their rent owed after Sept. 1. That law was set to expire on Monday. But the law Newsom signed on Thursday extends those protections through June 30.
Tenants who qualify for the protections will still owe their rent, they just can’t be evicted for not paying all of it.
The law would use federal stimulus dollars to pay off 80% of some tenants’ unpaid rent, but only if landlords agree to forgive the remaining 20%. If landlords refuse the deal, the law would pay off 25% of tenants’ unpaid rent to make sure they qualify for eviction protections.
People who earn more than 80% of the area median income are not eligible for the money.
Some housing advocacy groups worry the law gives too much power to landlords. During a virtual bill signing ceremony on Friday, Newsom, Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon all pledged to pass a law offering more assistance later this year.
“We’re not done,” Newsom said. “None of us are naive that we have a lot more work to do.”
Earlier this week, the San Diego City Council voted to extend eviction protections for renters and businesses, a proposal brought forward by Mayor Todd Gloria last week.
“Getting through this pandemic, financially and emotionally, is hard enough for residents and small businesses,” Gloria said in a news release sent out after the vote. “The last thing they need to worry about is being evicted. I thank the city council for partnering with me to ensure that San Diegans won’t lose their home or their storefront because they couldn’t make the rent due to COVID-19. We will get through this together, and we will build back better”
Gloria made more than $42 million in federal emergency rental assistance available to city residents last week.
Last year, the city created programs that distributed more than $15 million in assistance for struggling residential renters and nearly $19 million for small businesses.
The $42.3 million the city has received as a result of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law in December, is intended to provide financial assistance to cover unpaid rent and utilities for qualifying residential households affected by COVID-19.
This funding will be distributed through a program administered by the San Diego Housing Commission, and details on eligibility and the application process will be forthcoming
The city will continue advocating for a share of state and federal assistance for small-business relief proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden, Gloria said.
Through an ordinance enacted last year, San Diego renters affected by the pandemic were protected from eviction between late March and August 2020.
On Sept. 1, state urgency legislation signed by Newsom took precedence over the city ordinance.
City News Service contributed to this report — Ed.