By Matt Levin
AB 3088 would give renters financially impacted by COVID-19 a reprieve from eviction until February 2021.
Renters who aren’t financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic could be evicted starting tomorrow. And there isn’t rent forgiveness for tenants who are financially impacted by the pandemic, who must pay back all missed rent by March 1, 2021. To avoid being evicted come February, renters must pay 25% of what they owe from September through January. Landlords could collect all missed rent payments — including the remaining 75% — in small claims court starting March 2021.
Define “support”. Tenant groups wanted all evictions stopped, including cases unrelated to financial hardship from the virus. Landlords originally wanted some type of compensation for missed rent. But tenants, landlords and banking groups all signed off on the deal, calling it a necessity to prevent catastrophe.
Though the bill passed both the Senate and Assembly with a supermajority of votes — and bipartisan support — it leaves many unsatisfied, notably tenants rights’ groups, CalMatters’ Matt Levin reports.
· Newsom: “California is stepping up to protect those most at risk because of COVID-related nonpayment, but it’s just a bridge to a more permanent solution once the federal government finally recognizes its role in stabilizing the housing market.”
· Anya Lawler of the Western Center on Law and Poverty: “This is not a complete solution to the looming eviction crisis, nor is it a long-term solution to the very real financial impact the pandemic has had on tenants, small landlords and affordable housing providers.”
Though the bill was backed by the California Apartment Association, one of the state’s most powerful landlord lobbies, it still leaves unanswered small landlords’ questions of how they’re supposed to make their mortgage payments.
Many lawmakers stressed Monday that the bill is merely intended to serve as a stopgap until a more sustainable solution — ideally, rental assistance from the federal government — comes through.
· Assemblymember David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat and bill coauthor: “This proposal is imperfect. I wish it had more for tenants. For example, we shouldn’t be starting evictions during this pandemic. … For struggling landlords, we should have real mandatory mortgage forbearance. For both, we need financial assistance.”