Q. I lost my job due to the Covid Pandemic, and now find that I am having difficulty paying my rent. I am worried about being evicted from the home my wife and I are renting. Is there any advice you can offer?

A. Yes. County and State-wide eviction moratoriums have just been extended to the end of the year, at a minimum. Further, the Federal Government, acting through the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”), has just issued a nationwide halt to all residential evictions throughout the country until December 31, 2020, for eligible renters. The qualifications for this relief differ slightly with regard to each set of emergency orders, but qualifying under at least one Emergency Order (“EO”) should be relatively easy for most folks.

Here is a more detailed breakdown:

Alameda County’s Emergency Order: Under Alameda County’s EO, a landlord may not evict a tenant for failure to pay rent between March 24 and September 30, and also grants the tenant a full year to pay the overdue rent.  The moratorium now runs through December 31 “or 60 days after the state of emergency is lifted”, whichever is later. Of note is that some cities, notably Oakland, have their own moratoriums, with even stronger tenant protecitons.

State of California EO:  On August 31, 2020, Governor Newsom signed an EO protecting tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.  The Order offers eviction relief which varies slightly depending upon when the rent arrearages accrued:  (1) for a COVID-19 hardship that accrued between March 4 and August 31, 2020, the tenant must provide a declaration of hardship; and (2) for one that accrues between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2020, the tenant seeking relief must pay at least 25% of the rent due in order to avoid eviction. Landlords must provide their tenants with notice of their new rights under the Act and must provide hardship declaration forms.  This bill (AB 3088) also extends anti-foreclosure protections to homeowners under the Homeowner Bill of Rights Act.

Federal CDC Nationwide EO: Under its authority to control the spread of COVID-19, the CDC has also just issued its own moratorium on residential evictions, and the ban has nationwide effect. Its order, just issued a few days ago, is effective immediately, and prevents the eviction of tenants through the end of this year. To qualify for this relief, the tenant just sign a declaration as to income: a single tenant must declare that he/she earns no more than $99K a year, while couples filing taxes jointly must declare that they earn less than $198K per year.  They must also declare that they cannot pay their rent in full; that, if evicted, they would become homeless or be forced to move into congregate housing; and, that they made an effort to receive government assistance.  Note:  a previous federal eviction moratorium granted as part of the CARES Act ended in late July, 2020, and only applied to federally-funded or mortgage backed housing. Now, the newly issued CDC Order applies to all residential housing throughout the country.

As soon as available, we hope to have the requisite Emergency Orders and Declaration forms available for download by accessing this article on our website.

So, to your question: you have at least three layers of government moratoriums, County, State and Federal, to look for help.

References: CDC Ban as it appeared in the Federal Register. Scroll down to Attachment “A” for the wording of the necessary CDC Declaration;

Governor Gavin Newsom signs statewide eviction ban and foreclosure protections; California’s “Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act”; Text of California’s AB 3088: for the necessary recitals for the Declaration, scroll way down to § 1179.02(d) of the amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure.

“A Guide to Oakland’s Moratorium”.

“Resources for Advocates Assisting with Eviction Prevention”, by National Center on Law & Elder Rights.