California state Sen. Nancy Skinner, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, today applauded the Legislature’s approval of the Budget Committee bills, which extend the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act and greenlight the distribution of $2.6 billion in federal funding for rental housing assistance. This vital legislation will benefit renters and landlords impacted by the pandemic.
The approval of SB 91 extends the tenant, landlord, and homeowner protections under AB 3088, enacted last year, until June 30, 2021. AB 3088 was scheduled to expire on Jan. 31. SB 89, also passed today, provides the technical budgetary actions for the implementation of SB 91.
“Millions of Californians can now breathe a sigh of relief. Renters won’t face eviction, landlords can be confident some portion of back rent will be paid, and struggling homeowners will be protected against foreclosure,” said Sen. Skinner, D-Berkeley. “And there will soon be a mechanism for tenants to apply for the $2.6 billion in federal funds California has received for emergency rental assistance.”
Under SB 91, landlords who choose to participate in the program will receive 80% of any back rent owed due to Covid-impacted tenants being unable to pay full rent since last year. In exchange, the rental debt accumulated by their tenants will be erased and renters will be protected from eviction through June 30.
Tenants of landlords who decline to participate are still eligible for the rental assistance but must pay at least 25% of their monthly rent to be protected from eviction through June 30. Landlords are also barred from applying a tenant’s security deposit to their rental debt, prohibited from charging late fees, and banned from taking legal actions to seek recovery of rental debt until after June 30. Landlords will also have to show that they have made a good-faith effort to secure rental assistance before they can attempt to collect Covid-related rental debt. Prioritization for the rental assistance will be for low-income households.
Sen. Skinner represents the 9th Senate District, is the Senate majority whip, and is chair of the Senate Budget Committee.