California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomBattle over COVID-19 school openings goes to the courts California launches plan to reopen in slower phases after surge in coronavirus cases Latino Victory to boost Alex Padilla to fill Harris’s potential Senate seat MORE (D) signed a bill Monday night that would extend the state’s eviction moratorium for another five months.
The bill, A.B. 3088, moved through the legislature on the last day the body was in session. It grants tenants who have lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic a postponement on their missed rent and gives them five more months before they must start paying again in full.
“Tenants are still responsible for paying unpaid amounts to landlords, but those unpaid amounts cannot be the basis for an eviction,” Newsom’s announcement reads. Landlords can begin collecting missed rent on March 1.
The bill came after a long series of negotiations as the legislature sought to prevent a wave of evictions in the state.
“If we all had a crystal ball, we’d look at it and we’d know when the COVID pandemic is going to end, what’s going to happen to the economy, when are people going to get back to work,” Sen. Anna Caballero (D), a co-author of the legislation, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “None of that is possible at this time.”
Housing advocates have argued that temporarily pausing eviction while still holding renters responsible for missed rent is only delaying a wave of evictions, not preventing it.
“True facts: this bill is not CLOSE to enough to stop an eviction avalanche. It only slows its roll,” Tenants Together, a housing advocacy group in San Francisco tweeted. “Once again, @GavinNewsom and the state legislature have put the burden on us to fight for ourselves.”
The California Apartment Association, a landlord group, said that to “truly address this crisis, the federal government needs to step up” and provide direct rent relief for tenants.
In August, California saw its deadliest month of the coronavirus pandemic, with 3,745 deaths recorded.