A bill introduced Thursday in the California Assembly would prevent local governments from passing their own COVID-19 eviction moratoria for an additional three months.
Under the legislation, AB 2179 by Assemblyman Tim Grayson, D-Concord, some aspects of California’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium would also remain in effect during that time.
The current protections, passed under AB 832, are set to expire March 31, the last day that landlords and tenants may apply for ERAP rental assistance at the state or local level.
Grayson’s AB 2179 would continue to prohibit a landlord from evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent if the tenant has applied for COVID-19 emergency rental assistance dollars on or before March 31, 2022. The extension would run through June 30 and apply to rental arrears accrued before March 31.
AB 2179 offers no protections for tenants who unscrupulously withheld rent and either refused to apply for rental assistance or were denied assistance based on income.
The bill would maintain the state’s preemption against newly approved local eviction restrictions through the end of June.
The approval of AB 2179 would maintain a consistent standard for eviction protections across California, preventing a hodgepodge of local rules for tenants, landlords and courts to navigate.
“The California Apartment Association is hopeful that the state will have worked through all pending ERAP applications and made the appropriate payments before June 30, making AB 2179 the final extension of the moratorium and eliminating any argument for local eviction moratoria to take its place,” said Tom Bannon, chief executive officer at CAA.
Regardless of what happens with AB 2179, the ERAP application window will close as scheduled March 31.
Tenants and landlords who need rental assistance but haven’t yet applied should do so without delay. The state has said it will pay out any qualified application turned in by the March 31 deadline.
If landlords have not applied because of uncooperative tenants, they should do so now. Under a bill sponsored by CAA, SB 847 by Sen. Melissa Hurtado, landlords with tenants who refuse to cooperate in the application process or who make too much money to qualify would become eligible for help. The bill today passed its first hearing, in the Senate Housing Committee, and next goes to the Judiciary Committee.