Supervisors reject trio of anti-housing proposals

Nearly three years after instituting California’s harshest COVID-19 eviction moratorium, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to let the eviction restrictions expire at the end of next month.

The decision came one day after the California Apartment Association held a press conference in Oakland highlighting the struggles of landlords who’ve been unable to evict non-paying tenants because of the county’s rules. The board’s vote also came amid ongoing CAA litigation challenging the constitutionality of the moratorium.

Alameda County’s pandemic-era eviction moratorium will remain in effect through April 29. The 60-day countdown to expiration began Tuesday with the lapsing of Alameda County’s COVID-19 health emergency.

Besides putting an end to the eviction moratorium, supervisors Tuesday rejected a trio of anti-housing regulations, specifically a rent registry, “just cause” eviction restrictions and a “fair chance” ordinance that would have limited a housing provider’s ability to use criminal background checks to screen a prospective tenant.

On Tuesday evening, Joshua Howard, CAA’s executive vice president of local public affairs, lauded the board for ending the moratorium and rejecting the counterproductive landlord/tenant laws up for consideration. Howard, however, said the work isn’t finished in Alameda County, where many rental housing providers are still owed tens of thousands of dollars in back rent.

“CAA calls upon the Board of Supervisors to now make Alameda County property owners whole for the injustices, loss of income, and harm they have suffered because of this unfair moratorium,” he said. “The county must urgently consider reimbursing property owners for unpaid rent they are owed.”

With the eviction rules finally coming to an end, Howard said, it remains important for landlords to act with compassion when dealing with tenants who are still struggling to pay their rent due to legitimate COVID-19 related hardships.

Even with the end of the county moratorium, some restrictions from the law will remain in place. For example, Alameda County tenants who failed to pay their rent during the moratorium cannot be evicted for carrying that rent debt, even after April 29, 2023. Evictions can proceed for nonpayment that accrues after that date. Some cities in Alameda County, such as Oakland and Berkeley, also continue to maintain their own eviction moratorium. San Leandro just extended its law.

Importantly, when all moratoria have expired, rental housing providers will remain bound by other “just cause” for eviction rules. Some cities in Alameda County, such as Oakland and Berkeley, have their own local just cause requirements, while areas without local requirements are subject to AB 1482, the statewide rent cap and just cause eviction law adopted by the Legislature in 2019.