SAN JOSE, Calif. - A program in place to protect renters from eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic nears an all but certain end. California’s eviction moratorium expires September 30, and there’s no political will for its renewal.
"My understanding is that there isn’t going to be a last-ditch effort to extend it," said Asm. Ash Kalra, D-San Jose.
Kalra, a strong proponent of the law, said there’s no political census to keep the program alive.
Currently, tenants who are behind on rent due to COVID-19 complications cannot be evicted.
"We’re facing this eviction crisis. And I don’t understand why the legislature can’t act to extended it? They’ve done it twice before," said Sandy Perry, president of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County.
Program proponents blame lobbyists for property landlords. They argued their clients have been negatively impacted by the inability to remove non-rent payers.
In a statement late Friday, the California Rental Housing Association said, "Rental housing providers want to keep renters in their homes, not remove renters, and will continue to work with renters on reduced rent or a payment schedule that works for everyone."
South Bay housing advocates said a federal government rent relief program will eventually make landlords whole again, as part of the American Rescue Plan.
"We are not only able to pay backward rent, but we can also pay forward rent. So we really do encourage people to apply," said Ragan Henninger, deputy director of the City of San Jose Housing Dept.
She estimates upwards of 27,000 households in Santa Clara County are behind on rent. Those in need can apply for rental assistance until Sept. 30, while still paying even a small amount of their rent, to remain eligible for help.
"I encourage everyone to find out what’s available at the local level," said Asm. Kalra. "We have put billions of dollars into rental assistance. And there’s a lot of federal money that hasn’t been accessed yet."
Residents should check with their local municipality or county for program details.