With hundreds of thousands of county residents still unable to pay rent, some hope was offered at the end of last month when the Extended Tenant Relief Act (Senate Bill 91) was passed in California. The bill extends protections for tenants who can't pay rent. And as long as tenants pay at least 25% of their total rent from September 2020 to June 2021 by June 30 2021, landlords can't legally evict them. Tenants must also submit a declaration form each month stating COVID-19 hardship. It's important to know that this new law does not cancel rent. It also does not stop landlords from filing an eviction lawsuit. But, it does provide tenants with defenses to eviction if a lawsuit is filed for not paying rent.
The new law also provides $2.6 billion for rental assistance to Californians via direct payments to landlords. Landlords who apply to the program will be paid 80% of any rent owed by a tenant if the landlord agrees to forgive the remaining 20%. If a landlord chooses not to apply, qualified tenants can apply to receive 25% of their unpaid rent to secure eviction protection.
To learn more about SB 91, the rental assistance program and other laws that protect tenants, check out stayhousedla.org or join a tenants' rights workshop. At the workshop, you'll hear more about your rights and be connected to resources that can help keep you in your home.