California passed its fourth extension of a pandemic-era eviction moratorium, protecting more than 100,000 tenants who applied for emergency assistance by March 31 and are still awaiting aid.
The moratorium, through June 30, comes as landlords increasingly feel pressure from the pause on payments that could prompt defaults or foreclosures, the Mercury News reported. About 373,000 renters have applications under review or are awaiting payments, according to data from the National Equity Atlas. State housing officials said the backlog stands at no more than 190,000.
The extension also bans any new proposals from cities and counties to enact local restrictions on evictions. Eviction bans in Oakland and Alameda will be grandfathered in, though they are still subject to pending lawsuits.
“Today’s action will provide additional time to thousands more who are in the process of acquiring emergency relief,” said Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who signed the legislation while Gov. Gavin Newsom was on vacation.
Thursday was the final day for California tenants to apply to the federally funded $5.5 billion Housing is Key program. California has handed out $2.6 billion to 223,000 applicants since March 2021. The protections apply to unpaid rent from the start of the pandemic through March.
The legislation had the backing of the California Apartment Association because it maintained standards for eviction protections as opposed to a wide range of local rules for tenants, landlords and courts. The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment criticized the extension for not extending the deadline of when households could apply to the program.
[The Mercury News] — Gabriel Poblete