San Jose leaders aren’t waiting for California to make a move this week to protect tenants and moved quickly Tuesday to end local evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.
Because the state’s eviction ban is set to expire on Jan. 31, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to enact an eviction ban through March. In the meantime, the state is rushing to provide its own support.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday released a plan to extend the state’s eviction ban through June 30, but the plan is awaiting approval by the legislature. Newsom’s new plan will also roll out $2.6 billion in aid to help landlords and tenants pay off their debts.
The vote could take place as early as Thursday.
But San Jose lawmakers want to protect residents now.
“It’s clear that our San Jose residents continue to face the worst of this crisis and this pandemic, including the risk of heading towards the cliff of evictions,” said council member Maya Esparza. “Hopefully the state will do the right thing and we won’t be needed, but again, our city is ready to be that last line of defense.”
San Jose’s emergency measure will end evictions due to non-payment of rent for tenants and mobile home owners who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 through March 4 and will include a loan repayment plan. one year for rent accrued during the eviction ban.
Morales-Ferrand said the city would consider extending the moratorium again if the local emergency is prolonged.
Last September, California passed AB 3088 which limited evictions until January 31 for tenants who could pay 25% of the rent owed during that time. If the state or federal government doesn’t take action, beginning Feb. 1, tenants will again have to pay full monthly rent or otherwise risk being evicted, according to Housing Director Jacky Morales-Ferrand.
If the legislature does not approve California’s extended ban on evictions, San Jose’s protections will last until March 4 or whenever the state of emergency is lifted.
If the state extends protections this week, that plan would replace the city’s measure.
Mathew Reed, chief policy officer at Silicon Valley at Home, said he supports quick action by the city before the state.
“Our state leadership can and must do better than wait until the last moment to address the human costs of the uncertainty of these times,” Reed said.
In addition to banning evictions, Esparza and Councilman Pam Foley also encouraged their colleagues to extend the moratorium on city rent increaseswhich took effect last April and stopped rent increases in mobile homes and rent-controlled apartments on December 31, 2020.
Foley, however, suggested a rent freeze for mobile home residents who are impacted by COVID-19 so mobile home park owners can maintain operations.
Roberta Moore, a 29-year-old San Jose resident and fourplex owner, argued Foley’s Proposal and suggested that it be applied to tenants.
“This proposal is designed to be fair and equitable to all parties…the majority of owners, including me, want to do what’s right and help people,” Moore said. “It’s the best way to help those who need it most without placing an unnecessary burden on housing providers.”
From September 2020 to January 2021, the San Jose Housing Department recorded 2,032 rent non-payment notices and 34 eviction notices. On average, residents who received eviction notices owed $13,500 in back rent from April to October, according to a note by Morales-Ferrand.
According to a United States Household Pulse SurveyMore than 5 million Californians in arrears with rent fear being evicted from their homes within the next two months.
Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] or follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.