SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — On this April 1, rents across the country, state and Bay Area are due while many are out of work and sheltering in place.

Among them is florist Terra Thomas of Oakland. “It’s starting to get terrifying actually. I work in events, and I really have no work for the foreseeable future,” she told KPIX via FaceTime.

The story is the same for Ricardo Zepeda of Richmond, only his daughter still has a job. “Her job has reduced her hours to one day and my spouse was laid off from her employment and my son too,” he said.

Per Governor Gavin Newsom, no one, commercial or residential, can be evicted during the coronavirus crisis, but that money is still due eventually.

“You still owe your rent but if you cannot pay it because of coronavirus, you can let your landlord know in writing and you will not be evicted, but you have to pay it down the line,” said District 6 supervisor Matt Haney.

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In San Francisco only, that means six months after the crisis has ended, you must repay your landlord. But the repayment rules differ by city and throughout the state. Haney says stimulus checks won’t cover the gap.

“That doesn’t get you much at all in a place like San Francisco or the Bay Area, you can’t pay your rent for $1,200, so let’s support people in doing the right thing and staying home and following the rules,” he said.

Terra and Ricardo are part of what’s being called a rent strike and are urging Governor Newsom to offer the same relief: a 90 day grace period to all renters that was offered earlier on mortgages.

“I would urge the governor to act fast because right now millions are facing a really, really impossible choice,” said Thomas.

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