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California Could Extend Statewide Eviction Protections Into Summer


California lawmakers are weighing an extension to the statewide residential eviction moratorium that would give renters three more months to repay back rent. The extension would allow for rent relief to be dispersed by the state. 

Assembly Bill 2179 would change the date on which landlords can initiate eviction proceedings from April 1 to July 1, provided that the renter has submitted an application to the rent relief program by the end of this month, the Los Angeles Times reported

The program is open to landlords and tenants. To qualify, they must prove they have a hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Only 16% of the applicants who have filed for rent relief had received it as of March 3, CalMatters reported. More than half of the 488,000 households that applied are still waiting to hear if they will receive anything at all.  

That's an undercount compared to the state's own dashboard that tracks the program's progress. According to that, 489,879 households have applied for the program and 214,247 have received aid. The average assistance amount is $11,488.

The new bill could also cancel out some local residential eviction moratoriums. The California Apartment Association Communications Director Mike Nemeth said in a post online that the legislation would “maintain a consistent standard for eviction protections across California” and prevent “a hodgepodge of local rules for tenants, landlords and courts to navigate.”

But in a statement on Monday, state Sen. Scott Wiener and Assembly Member Phil Ting, who both represent San Francisco, put out a statement indicating that might not entirely be the case. While the bill would preempt local eviction moratoriums in San Francisco and 70% of Los Angeles County, the city of Los Angeles' moratorium and Oakland's would remain in place, they said. 

“This arbitrary distinction is harmful to San Francisco renters, as well as renters in other cities and counties that aren’t part of the favored group of cities,” Weiner and Ting wrote.

“We shouldn’t be playing favorites by allowing some cities to protect their renters while prohibiting other cities from doing so. Cities must have the ability to protect their residents from eviction and homelessness. AB 2179’s preemption of San Francisco’s eviction moratorium is a fatal flaw in the bill. Without this change, we stand opposed to this legislation.”