SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Giving a break to renters during the coronavirus outbreak, Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties on Tuesday approved temporary moratoriums on evictions because of circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Santa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a temporary moratorium on evictions countywide that is effective immediately.

“This measure is more protective of tenants than any we have seen before in Santa Clara County,” said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

The measure applies to each of the 15 cities within the limits of Santa Clara County, not just the unincorporated areas of the county where the supervisors normally have jurisdiction, officials said. That’s because of the executive order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom last week that mandated protections for renters and homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Alameda County, the Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve an urgency ordinance providing a temporary 30-day moratorium on evictions in the unincorporated parts of the county if renters can demonstrate a substantial loss of income as a result of the coronavirus.

Sabyl Landrum, a staff attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, said the intent of the ordinance is good but she believes it needs to be strengthened to protect tenants. She asked the board to postpone voting on the ordinance for a week so it’s language could be toughened.

But Chan said, “I prefer we go ahead and vote on this today (Tuesday) because this is an urgent situation. We can amend this later if we need to.”

The Marin County Board of Supervisors approved a similar resolution that protects residents and certain businesses from being evicted.

Their moratorium on evictions will also be in effect until May 31. It applies to cities, towns and the unincorporated areas of the county.

Supervisors also approved a $1 million relief fund to assist
vulnerable populations during the coronavirus pandemic response. Both the county and the Marin Community Foundation contributed $500,000 to address the most urgent safety-net needs of residents.

The money is for emergency rental assistance for low-income residents, meals for seniors, food for economically disadvantaged families, emergency child care for health care workers and emergency responders and online access for economically disadvantaged students. The Board will partner with nonprofits to provide the aid.

Several other governments in the Bay Area have passed or are considering similar eviction moratoriums. The Hayward City Council is scheduled to vote on a similar ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday night.

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The moratorium in Santa Clara County will last until May 31, the same date that Newsom’s order ends. Chavez said she is confident the supervisors are prepared to extend that date until the public health crisis subsides.

Santa Clara County officials are preparing a frequent asked questions list to address concerns from both landlords and tenants about how the ordinance will be implemented as well as details on the dispute resolution process.

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