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AB 832 Extends/Expands Covid Rent Relief


Sacramento lawmakers recently passed AB 832, extending California’s eviction moratorium through September 30, 2021. Prior to passing this law, California’s ban on evictions for nonpayment of rent would have expired on June 30, 2021. 

In addition, AB 832 also provides 100% percent reimbursement of qualifying rent debt, which further expands existing Covid-19 rental assistance. 

As San Francisco landlord-tenant attorneys, we receive a myriad of questions about AB 832, Covid-19 eviction moratoria and tenant protections. Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, you can count our team to keep tabs on how the changing rules impact you going forward in 2021 and into 2022. 

Frequently Asked Questions About California AB 832 and Covid-19 Rental Relief

We’ve put together some answers to the more frequently asked questions about the new rules of AB 832. 

What’s should landlords know about AB 832?

As a reminder, landlords must notify tenants about the new rental assistance law no later than July 31, 2021. 

AB 832 mandates that landlords send written notice of the changes to the law to all tenants who meet the following criteria as of July 1, 2021:

  • Those who owe rental payments that were due between the period of March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.
  • Those who owe other payments according to the rental agreement such as parking or utilities. All amounts owed must have come due during the same time period.

What if a landlord has already sent a 15-Day notice to a tenant? 

Under AB 832, landlords who have previously served a 15-Day notice are still required to provide those tenants information about these new changes to the law. In addition, landlords cannot send any new 15-Day notices to tenants unless they have completed this step.

Does AB 832 require landlords to provide notice of the new law to tenants who are current on their rent?

No. AB 832 does not require landlords to notify tenants who are current on rental payments as of July 1, 2021.

Who qualifies for rental assistance in California?

Landlords who have tenants with income equal to or below 80% of the area’s median income are eligible for rent reimbursement for unpaid rent. Tenants with higher incomes may also be eligible if they can prove lost wages as a result of COVID-19.

Under AB 832, how much time do tenants have to repay rent under the new law? 

AB 832 extends the deadline for tenants to repay. Tenants now have until September 30, 2021 to pay the required 25% of total rent that has accrued between September 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021. To avoid eviction, tenants must attest to experiencing COVID-19 financial distress. That means they must submit a declaration of Covid related hardship in order to qualify.

By October 1, 2021, the tenant must start paying 100% of the rent owed in order to avoid eviction. Tenants will no longer be able to only pay 25% of the rent owed to avoid eviction.

What if a tenant no longer lives in the rental? 

Under the new law, a tenant is not required to live in the unit to qualify for rental assistance. Even if the tenant has moved out, the state will pay 100% of the rent that accrued between April 1, 2020, through September 1, 2021. But, the landlord must release all claims against the tenant for nonpayment of rent in order to qualify for payment.

Do both the landlord and tenant need to apply for the rental assistance program? 

Either the landlord or the tenant can apply. However, there is specific information that the tenant must provide in order to complete the application. For this reason, it’s more efficient for both the landlord and tenant to work together when applying for rent reimbursement.

Do landlords need to reapply in order to receive 100% rental reimbursement? 

No. Landlords who previously received 80% payment from the rental assistance program will automatically receive the additional 20%. They will not need to submit a new application. 

Can landlords in California opt out of the rental assistance program?

No, AB 832 does not allow for opting out of the program. If a landlord chooses not to participate, the tenant receives the entire payment and must make payment to the landlord within 15 business days. Keep in mind, it is illegal for landlords to discriminate based on source of income. Rental assistance is a source of income.

What happens with evictions in California after October 1, 2021? 

AB 832 states landlords may return to issuing 3-Day Notices to Pay or Quit. But, with additional requirements. This is only for tenancies that begin on or after October 1, 2021. In addition, AB 832 requires landlords to provide rental assistance information with all 3 Day Notices. This information must include a telephone number and website where the tenant can start the rental assistance application process. 

This requirement applies to all evictions filed between October 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.

AB 832 also requires that 3 Day Notices include this warning:

DO NOT DELAY! IF YOU DO NOT COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE WITHIN 15 BUSINESS DAYS, YOUR LANDLORD MAY BE ABLE TO SUE TO OBTAIN A COURT ORDER FOR YOUR EVICTION.”

Note: the new eviction procedures of AB 832 do not apply to new tenancies that begin on or after October 1, 2021. Lease renewals or new leases where at least one tenant already lives in the unit do not qualify as a new tenancy.

Will tenants with unpaid rent due to Covid-19 have trouble qualifying for new rentals in the future?

The new law under AB 832 stipulates that landlords, screening companies, or other agencies who screen residential applicants cannot penalize applicants who accrued rent debt from March 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. Landords cannot use rent debt from this time period as a negative factor when evaluating rental applications.

Still have questions about AB 832? Keep in mind, the information above is for general information purposes only. Before taking action on your unique situation, please consult a qualified local attorney. 

As experienced Bay Area landlord-tenant attorneys, Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners is here to help landlords and tenants navigate the laws surrounding COVID-19. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call 415-956-6488.

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