In a time when the spread of a potential pandemic…
California’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act Extended
On January 28, 2021 the California Legislature passed SB 91. This bill intends to compensate tenants and landlords for up to 80% of unpaid rent. This applies to qualifying individuals, and includes unpaid rent accumulated since the economic shutdown due to COVID-19.
This bill will use federal funding to pay the 80% of accumulated back rent, specifically for the time frame of April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. Any landlords who decide to accept this federal money must forgive the remaining unpaid rent for that period of time. Additionally, federal money is available to help cover unpaid rent from March through June of this year.
In order to qualify for this federal funding, the tenant must earn less that 80% of the area median income in 2020, or at the time of the application. Tenants will be able to apply for this funding beginning in March 2021, according to the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.
California’s distribution of this funding is subject to certain federal rules. Additionally, legislators are considering state funding for rental assistance programs. This funding would be for individuals who either do not qualify for SB 91, or who need additional rental assistance beyond what SB 91 provides.
What Does SB 91 Mean For Landlords and Tenants?
The SB91 bill plans to compensate tenants and landlords for up to 80% of unpaid rent that has accumulated since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown, specifically for the time frame of April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. Any landlords who decide to accept this federal money must forgive the remaining unpaid rent for that period of time. Additionally, federal money is available to help cover unpaid rent from March through June of this year (2021).
How Does SB 91 Affect California’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020?
SB 91 intends to extend California’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB 3088), which expired on January 31, 2021. Under AB 3088, tenants had until January 31st to pay 25% of accumulated unpaid rent since September 1, 2020. If they did not comply, they were subject to eviction. SB 91 extends that January 31, 2021 deadline to June 30, 2021.
SB 91 Details
Notably, Congress will likely extend the federal eviction moratorium which expires in March. This moratorium will prohibit landlords from evicting tenants, even if AB 3088 would have allowed it.
SB 91, along with the 80% of unpaid rent, will also provide incentive funding for local governments that agree to follow state rules established under SB 91. Local governments which decide to implement their own rules will not receive this incentive funding.
In order to qualify for this funding on an individual basis, tenants must declare under penalty of perjury that they were negatively impacted by COVID-19. They must still pay 25% of their owed rent by June 30, 2021 under SB 91, or risk eviction.
How Will SB 91 Affect You as a Landlord or Tenant? Contact Us For A Consultation Today
For more information on SB 91 or on how COVID-19 affects landlord-tenant law, call our office at 415-956-6488. You can also fill out our online intake form to schedule a consultation with our experienced landlord-tenant law attorneys.
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