The California Apartment Association has spent the past week helping negotiate the details of the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020.

Negotiations are continuing on the bill, which is expected to be unveiled in the state Legislature by tomorrow morning.

The legislation is intended as an alternative to AB 1436, the “free rent” bill by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco.

“We’ve been working around the clock with lawmakers and the governor’s office to make sure the legislation is fair and balanced,” said Debra Carlton, executive vice president of state public affairs. “Our goal has been to provide both help for tenants who are truly affected by COVID-19, as well as compensation for landlords, especially mom and pop owners, at risk of foreclosure after several months without rent payments.”

The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 is expected to include protections for tenants who cannot pay their full rent due to the lost income attributable to the pandemic. It also would ensure that landlords can evict tenants who wreak havoc at their rental communities. Further, the bill promises to foster communication between the landlord and tenant so that both parties can work together as all Californians weather the fallout of the pandemic.

The legislation would further require that tenants impacted by COVID-19 start paying at least some of their rent.

Debra Carlton

“This is a more sensible approach than AB 1436, a bill still under consideration at the Capitol that would encourage tenants to withhold rent, even if they’ve suffered no financial hardships from the pandemic,” Carlton said.

The work can’t stop with the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act, though.

“To truly address this crisis, the federal government needs to step up,” Carlton said. “COVID-impacted renters need financial assistance, from the feds, so they can pay their rent. Otherwise, renters will be hard-pressed to pay the rent that’s accumulated, and housing providers will go out of business.”

Check Friday for more details on the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020.