By Betty Yu

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — A newly-proposed bill would temporarily protect people from COVID-related evictions until February of 2021. Gov. Gavin Newsom considers it a compromise bill to help tenants while balancing the impact on landlords.

If lawmakers do not vote to pass it Monday, millions will be at risk for eviction.

“(I) feel really bad because there’s no way to work,” Richmond tenant Flora Bac said through an interpreter. “How (am I) going to find the way to pay the rent?”

Bac, a single mother of one child, lost her job when the pandemic began in March. She used to clean houses in San Francisco. She is currently four months behind on rent. She shares a two-bedroom apartment with her sister and her sister’s daughter.

Bac is one of millions of Californians facing eviction, many of them Black or Latinx.

Gov. Newsom and State Assemblyman David Chiu presented the new solution on Friday.

Under their proposal, any missed rent between March and August will be converted to civil debt, similar to credit-card debt.

Tenants must pay 25% of the rent from September through January or they could face eviction. The rest will be considered civil debt.

To qualify, tenants must sign under penalty of perjury that they are experiencing a pandemic-related hardship.

People who make at least $100,000 a year or 130 percent of the area’s median income, whichever is larger, must provide proof that they cannot pay their rent because of the pandemic.

“This is a bill that’s not going to be able to save everyone. If it were up to me we would continue the eviction moratorium for a period of time and it pains me that we’re moving forward with a bill that will not stop every eviction,” Chiu said.

Chiu says the bill is imperfect. Tenants groups say it doesn’t go far enough.

“It’s a half measure. Newsom is the governor, he has executive powers especially expanded right now because it’s a state of emergency. He should ban all evictions,” said Jasper Wilde, a San Francisco tenant.

Wilde lives in the Inner Richmond. She currently owes about $12,000 in back rent. She was working as a campaign manager for a local candidate.

“Emotionally it’s been really up and down because there’s just no way of knowing — there’s a lot in play,” said Wilde. “Will my landlord be understanding?”

The bill comes down to the wire because the legislative session ends Monday. It needs to win two-thirds approval in both houses. If it doesn’t, the statewide eviction moratorium lifts on Sept. 1.

Comments