Concerned that a wave of renters could suddenly become homeless after losing their jobs or wages amid the coronavirus pandemic, California cities and counties have begun halting evictions against tenants who cannot afford rent.
So far, only the city of Sacramento and Davis have passed emergency ordinances to protect renters from evictions if they’ve been financially impacted by COVID-19, the potentially deadly disease caused by the virus that has infected more than 2,300 people in California as of Tuesday.
Here’s how those renter protections work, and where they may be expanded in the Sacramento region.
WHICH SACRAMENTO-AREA COMMUNITIES HAVE EVICTION MORATORIUMS?
According to the California Apartment Association, the city of Sacramento, Davis, West Sacramento, Woodland and Yolo County have passed legally enforceable ordinances regarding temporary eviction bans.
But more municipalities in the coming weeks will consider or may propose similar bans.
A moratorium protecting renters in Sacramento County will go into effect May 1. Elk Grove is reconsidering an eviction ban that it initially rejected last week. Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova are also considering bans, according to the California Apartment Association.
San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles are among the many local governments in California that have already passed eviction moratoriums.
As of now, if you don’t live in a city or county with temporary moratoriums on evictions, you must still pay rent.
WHO DO EVICTION BANS APPLY TO?
The protections currently in place in the region apply to residential and commercial tenants who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus or the associated county and state stay-at-home orders. (Woodland’s ban does not apply to commercial tenants, though the city is considering expanding those protections next month.)
Renters must have documentation proving they lost significant income because:
▪ They are sick with COVID-19 or are caring for a household or family member who is sick with the virus
▪ They were laid off, lost hours at work or had income reduced in any way as a result of the coronavirus or the state of emergency
▪ They were complying with the recommendations from government agencies to stay home, self quarantine and avoid congregating
▪ They needed to miss work to care for a home-bound school-age child
▪ Extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses (Yolo County and cities only)
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO BE COVERED BY EVICTION PROTECTIONS?
In Sacramento, tenants must notify their landlord in writing prior to the day the rent is due that they have a covered reason for a delayed payment and provide the landlord with verifiable documentation to support the covered reason.
In Davis, renters have to notify their landlord on or within ten days after rent is due that they will be delaying payment. Renters have up to 30 days after rent is due to provide documentation that they cannot pay because they’ve been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
In West Sacramento, renters must notify their landlord in writing before the day rent is due. They must also provide proof of the loss of income, though it can be after the notification of deferred rent payments.
In Woodland, renters must notify their landlord within 30 days after the date that rent is due about the lost income and provides documentation to support the claim.
DOES THIS MEAN I DON’T HAVE TO PAY RENT?
No. Under the temporary eviction bans passed in the region, tenants who wish to be covered under the moratorium still have to pay as much rent as they are able to, and all deferred rent will be due at a later date.
WHEN IS DEFERRED RENT DUE?
In the city of Sacramento, renters will have up to four months after the California state of emergency declaration ends to pay the deferred rent. The declaration is currently set to end May 31, meaning the rent would be due Sept. 31.
In Davis, renters have up to six months after the local emergency declaration ends to pay back deferred rent. The declaration currently has no end date, but will be announced by the Davis City Council.
In Woodland, renters have up to six months after the local emergency declaration ends to pay back deferred rent. The declaration currently has no end date, but will be announced by the Woodland City Council.
The eviction moratorium in Yolo County and Woodland does not specify an exact deadline to pay back deferred rent, only that deferred rent must be paid after the emergency ordinance is terminated. The moratoriums in Yolo County and West Sacramento are set to end May 31.
WILL POWER BE SHUT OFF IF I CAN’T PAY THE BILLS?
No. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District and PG&E have suspended power shut offs.