CAA responds to Legislature, cities weighing eviction bans for tenants affected by COVID-19

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The coronavirus outbreak presents a health and financial crisis to all Californians.

As the virus continues to spread, state and local governments are exploring eviction protections for tenants unable to pay rent because of the outbreak.

Already, cities including San Jose, Hayward, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego are expected to adopt temporary eviction bans for tenants unable to pay rent because of COVID-19. On Friday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced such a ban, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti did likewise Sunday. CAA will update members as more regulations are adopted.

And this week, Assemblyman Phil Ting and Sen. Scott Wiener, both Democrats from San Francisco, urged fellow state lawmakers to pass temporary statewide measures banning evictions and foreclosures of those affected by the virus. Ting is expected to introduce such legislation in the coming days.

The California Apartment Association agrees that renters facing financial turmoil because of coronavirus should not have to worry about keeping a roof over their heads.

The government has a role to play in helping to protect all citizens, and CAA is engaged with policymakers to ensure that any forthcoming legislation is fair to both renters and property owners.

Any ban on evicting tenants unable to pay the rent because of coronavirus must be carefully tailored. For example, laws should clearly state that the rent is not waived, but merely delayed.

CAA is working to ensure that state and local measures being considered take into account that when rent goes unpaid, there’s a chain reaction. Owners, especially moms and pops, may be unable to pay their mortgage or other bills. That’s especially true if they come down with the virus and can’t go to work themselves.

While CAA understands that individual cities are trying to provide tenant protections in the face of coronavirus, a statewide approach may be more advantageous, giving all landlords and tenants across California access to the same protections.

As part of its effort to ensure that any such measure is balanced, CAA is calling on government leaders to only impose such a ban if it’s accompanied by public dollars to assist tenants in paying their rent or to assist property owners in paying their mortgage. In cases where rent can’t be repaid by a tenant, public money should be made available to assist tenants and rental owners.

CAA is committed to finding equitable approaches to helping both renters and landlords get through this difficult time while maintaining their health, their homes and their financial security.

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