HAYWARD, Calif (BCN) - The Hayward City Council voted on Tuesday night to expand eviction protections to businesses and other commercial building tenants during the new coronavirus pandemic.
The protections also apply to homeowners who are unable to make mortgage payments due to the public health crisis.
The council's action imposes a new 90-day moratorium on evictions of residential and commercial tenants for failure to pay rent due to the coronavirus as well as on no-fault evictions that otherwise would be allowable under Hayward's rent stabilization ordinance.
Similarly, mortgage lenders won't be able to evict homeowners following a foreclosure based on failure to pay due to pandemic-related hardships over the same 90-day period.
The City Council's vote follows an order issued by the California Judicial Council on Monday halting all eviction and foreclosure proceedings in the state's court systems, except those determined by the court to be necessary to protect the public's health and safety.
Hayward officials said the new eviction moratorium doesn't relieve residential and commercial tenants from their responsibility to pay rent, but does provide a temporary safe harbor against eviction and access to city-funded mediation services to help work out repayment plans with landlords.
The council said that in adopting the COVID-19 eviction moratoriums, it has also directed city staff to develop a financial assistance program to lessen the impact of unpaid rents on residential tenants and landlords.
That program will be offered to low-income Hayward residents in the coming weeks.
City officials said the moratorium covers instances in which the inability to pay rent stems from a substantial decrease in income related to the pandemic, including due to layoffs, reductions in work hours, including as a result of having to stay home with children who are out of school.
It also covers declines in business earnings and out-of-pocket medical expenses associated with the coronavirus.
The city said that to qualify for the eviction moratorium protection, tenants should notify their landlord immediately after their inability to pay rent and be sure to be able to document that the loss of income is related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hayward officials said that during the moratorium, landlords can't charge late fees if the non-payment is related to COVID-19.
They said tenants remain liable for unpaid rent but landlords can't file for an eviction for unpaid rent during the moratorium until 90 days after it expires.