OAKLAND, Calif. - As the California eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month, you may be wondering: am I protected for longer than that under Bay Area rules?
The answer depends on where you live.
Renters in California who could not afford to pay, and provided proof of that, are not allowed to be evicted for nonpayment before September 30.
"The Bay Area is still pretty strong with regards to keeping city or county moratoriums in place," said tenant attorney Christina Collins of Tobener Ravenscroft LLP. "Alameda County right now is probably one of the stronger ones out there, in that they currently do not have an expiration date for their local emergency."
When will the local emergency order end? Unfortunately tenant attorneys do not yet have clarity on that, and no guidance has been announced.
In the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, different rules exist which are similarly protective, and will prevail if they’re stronger for the tenant than the county rules.
Relative to other parts of the country, the Bay Area has good protections. But it’s often up to renters to know their rights and the up-to-date rules to take advantage of them.
Say you owe rent, and you live in a county without protections beyond the state law, like Solano or Santa Clara. What happens on October 1? When can you be evicted if you haven’t paid rent?
"There are additional protections with regards to when the tenants must repay back rent that may differ from a timeline that's provided by the state moratoriums," said Collins.
She recommended reaching out to a legal aid center, which could provide assistance based on your personal situation, and negotiations with your particular landlord.
You may be eligible for rent relief, which is available through your city or county. Unfortunately, issues abound with this program, and many renters who could have used these funds have been unable to access them due to administrative dysfunction and delays.
Collins said that besides the rent relief program, some tenants have also been facing a severe and life-altering limitation during the pandemic: illegal evictions by landlords who either skirt rules completely, or take advantage of renter unfamiliarity with local protections.
In one extraordinary case, a mother in San Jose who did not want to be named due to safety concerns and ongoing litigation, said that her landlord refused to accept rental assistance.
She was able to procure funds from her county, but the landlord allegedly refused to sign the paperwork to accept the funds, and is now moving to evict her.
The mother and her attorney suspect that he may have been illegally renting the spot, and therefore didn’t want to get in trouble by signing official paperwork, and putting himself on the map.
"If he would have participated, then he would have his money by now!" the mother said.
Collins said that for cases of lawful eviction, which are bound to set into motion very soon, there is a cascading effect: once you’re evicted, and that is on your rental history, it’s much more difficult to secure future housing.
"Once these moratoria expire, and payment is due, and when payment isn't forthcoming, then you know, there's going to be lawsuits, there's going to be evictions, and more homelessness," Collins said.
Check out the local guidelines for eviction rules below. City or town protections prevail in the case that they are more protective.
San Francisco: No additional moratorium, state one expires September 30.
Oakland: Indefinite expiration of moratorium; will persist until at least the local state of emergency is lifted by the Oakland City Council.
Berkeley: Indefinite expiration of moratorium; will persist until at least the local state of emergency is lifted. See the fact sheet for information about when and how much rent is required, but nonpayment of rent cannot serve as the basis for eviction during the local state of emergency.
Alameda County: Indefinite expiration of moratorium; will persist until at least the local state of emergency is lifted.
Contra Costa County: No additional moratorium besides the state one, expiring September 30.
Marin County: No additional moratorium besides the state one, expiring September 30.
Napa County: No additional moratorium besides the state one, expiring September 30.
San Mateo: No additional moratorium besides the state one, expiring September 30.
Santa Clara: No additional moratorium besides the state one, expiring September 30.
Solano: No additional moratorium besides the state one, expiring September 30.
Sonoma: No additional moratorium besides the state one, expiring September 30.