SACRAMENTO (CBS SF / AP) – Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced a plan to extend the state’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium through the end of September, days before it is set to expire.
Legislation, known as Assembly Bill 832, would extend the moratorium for another three months. At the same time, landlords of low-income tenants would receive up to 100% of overdue rent from a federal rental assistance fund.
California banned evictions after Newsom imposed the nation’s first statewide shutdown in March 2020 and ordered most businesses to close and people to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Those protections are scheduled to expire on Wednesday. The new agreement will extend the eviction moratorium through Sept. 30.
To be eligible for $5.2 billion provided by the federal government to California for this the effort, tenants must pay at least 25% of what they owe by Sept. 30, sign a declaration that they have had economic hardship because of COVID-19 and must earn 80% or less of the area median income.
“I am thankful for today’s news from the Legislature – protecting low-income tenants with a longer eviction moratorium and paying down their back-rent and utility bills – all thanks to the nation’s largest and most comprehensive rental assistance package, which I am eager to sign into law as soon as I receive it,” Newsom said in a statement.
“Our housing situation in California was a crisis before COVID, and the pandemic has only made it worse — this extension is key to making sure that more people don’t lose the safety net helping them keep their home,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). “While our state may be emerging from the pandemic, in many ways, the lingering financial impact still weighs heavily on California families.”
California has some of the most expensive rents in the country affordable and an housing shortage. About 25% of California’s renters pay at least half of their income on housing costs, a figure that includes rent and utilities, according to the California Department of Finance.
The extension gives state officials more time to disburse the money. A report from the California Department of Housing and Community Development showed the state had received $490 million in requests but had paid just $32 million covering 2,500 households as of May 31. That figure does not include some of the state’s larger cities, which run their own rental assistance programs.
California Apartment Association CEO Tom Bannon said California would not have to extend the eviction moratorium if it were able to spend money faster.
“It’s unacceptable that state and local governments have distributed less than 15% of the billions of dollars earmarked for California rental assistance,” said Bannon, whose organization represents landlords. “California has got to distribute these dollars faster so that the eviction moratorium being introduced is the last.”
Additional details about the legislation are set to be released later on Friday.
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