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Long-Term Eviction Ban Proposed By California Lawmakers

California lawmakers have proposed a ban on evictions for back rent owed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The California State Capitol

Under the proposed bill, AB 1436, financially burdened renters would have up to 15 months after the state health emergency has lifted to pay back debts. Once that time period has passed, landlords could then seek non-eviction civil actions to collect rent owed.

Introduced by Assembly member David Chiu, a Democrat representing California's 17th District, the legislation is meant to prevent a wave of evictions some experts expect would follow closely behind the expirations of moratoriums imposed by many governments. 

"California simply cannot afford a wave of mass evictions," Chiu said in a statement. "Doing nothing means millions could potentially be forced into homelessness. We are stepping in to keep tenants in their homes while allowing landlords to collect past due rent in a reasonable way."

The proposal comes just after the Judicial Council of California delayed a decision on dropping the state's temporary ban on eviction hearings, the Mercury News reports

Without AB 1436, to avoid eviction, renters would need to pay all past due rent once the emergency order is lifted, according to Chiu's office, which said the bill is also meant to encourage agreements between renters and landlords to avoid civil action. 

AB 1436 is sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty, Housing Now! California and Public Advocates, among other groups. Co-authors include Assembly member Miguel Santiago, a Democrat from Los Angeles, and state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco.

“There are currently no statewide protections to shield renters from evictions once courts reopen post-COVID," Western Center on Law & Poverty attorney Matthew Warren said in a statement. "California needs baseline protections now to avoid a crisis of mass eviction."

AB 1436 is expected to go before the Senate policy committee sometime next month.

Related Topics: Scott Wiener, David Chiu