Gov. Newsom on Monday announced his intent to pay rental housing providers 100% of the rent owed by tenants who qualify for COVID-19 rental assistance.

“This is certainly welcome news, and we applaud Gov. Newsom for his commitment to making rental housing providers whole,” said Tom Bannon, chief executive officer of CAA. “Many of our members have provided housing for more than a year without compensation. We thank the governor for understanding the difficulties that both tenants and rental property owners have endured during the pandemic.”

In a press conference Monday morning, Newsom announced that California will receive an additional $2.6 billion in rental assistance from the federal government. That brings California’s total federal rental aid to $5.2 billion.

Newsom also announced his plan to spend $2 billion from the state general fund to pay past-owed water and utility bills.

Gov. Gavin Newsom

The governor said he intends to use the new funds to pay rental housing providers all rental arrears attributable to the pandemic, both retroactively and going forward.

Until now, the governor and legislators committed to paying landlords 80% of what they were owed by qualifying COVID-19 impacted renters, although this has only covered back rent owed between April 2020 and March 2021. To qualify for assistance, tenants must earn less than 80% of the area median income or have lost employment within the past 90 days.

Also, under prior legislation, owners have been required to forgive 20% of the rent owed to qualify for the assistance. Now, it appears owners will receive the 20% owed as well.

“CAA looks forward to working with the governor and legislature to make the assistance in today’s announcement a reality and distribute the additional funds as quickly as possible,” Bannon said. “It’s also vital that we find dollars to help COVID-19 impacted renters who do not qualify for aid under the current state rental assistance program.”