Renters and landlords face an uncertain future as eviction moratorium is set to expire

By the end of January, some renters behind on their monthly rent payments could receive notices telling them to vacate.

"People have been living in a state of anxiety during this whole time because people never know how long the moratorium is going to last," said Sandy Perry, president of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County.

In March, Santa Clara County supervisors enacted an eviction moratorium, to protect COVID-19 sheltered workers from losing their place.

Governor Gavin Newsom did the same on a statewide level in August, and this week the federal government protected the nation. But that security blanket runs out January 31.

"We are definitely concerned for our community and really across the country for people who are unable to pay their rent as of February 1st," said Rachel VanderVeen, deputy director of the San Jose Housing Dept.

Experts estimate 35,000 South Bay families face challenges paying their rent, and 10,000 who could be left homeless, if the eviction moratorium lapses.

"They’re taking every action they can to make sure that their rent is paid just knowing that their housing and their stability in housing is so critical to their family," said VanderVeen.

This isn’t a one-sided equation. The people to whom rent is owed, landlords, say the pandemic and resulting eviction moratorium has been devastating to them.

"It’s a big financial loss for these people. And they’re getting hurt quite a bit," said Bill Toomey, owner of Lynx Legal Service.

Toomey’s company processes legal paperwork in a wide-range of cases including evictions. He said the vast majority of landlords own one or two properties. They're going months without collecting rent has put them in financial jeopardy.

"They’ve been stuck with this for months. And yeah, they’re afraid they’re going to lose their property," Toomey said.

Legislation in the California Assembly, and Congress, would help both groups. In the relief bill the president signed Sunday night, the federal eviction moratorium is extended through the end of January. Also part of the bill, a national rent relief fund of $25B. And there's also a proposal to provide mortgage relief for landlords.