State Senator Anna Caballero. File Photo.
State Senator Anna Caballero. File Photo.

Information provided by the office of State Senator Anna Caballero.

On May 7, State Senator Anna M. Caballero joined with State Senator Lena Gonzalez and State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris to introduce Senate Bill 1410 to create the COD-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. According to a recent release, the bill would authorize the California Department Housing and Community Development to administer a program that provides financial relief for California tenants that cannot pay rent because of financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the Governor issued the shelter in place order, California renters were already severely burdened by high housing costs. In fact, nearly 55% of California renters pay more than 30% of their household income in rent,” Caballero said. “Because of layoffs and lost income from the pandemic, more households are now struggling, and have already fallen behind on rent. The Governor and Judicial Council acted to prevent evictions during this time; however, some renters need a pathway to avoid displacement once we move into the next stages to re-open our economy.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-37-20 on March 27, which prohibits the courts from processing evictions through May 31, and the Judicial Council extended the time by prohibiting evictions until 90 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency terminates. Renters will still owe back due rents at the conclusion of the state of emergency.

Under SB 1410, eligible renters must demonstrate an inability to pay rent due to a COVID-19 related job loss or due to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release said. Property owners can receive 80% of their existing rental payments from those tenants, but must agree to not increase rent, charge or collect late fees, or pursue any remaining rent owed during the months covered by the program.

“This is a crisis. Renters need more than just eviction protection, they need to be able to pay the rent that became due while they were out of work,” Caballero said. “We must take bold actions to prevent the tsunami of potential evictions headed our way. SB 1410 helps to keep Californians in their homes during the pandemic, and as we return to work. Smartly, SB 1410 helps tenants and landlords at a critical time.”