California's Extended Tenant Protections a Mixed Bag

While state lawmakers rush to pass extended eviction protection for struggling Californians, tenant advocates say the new law could nullify local rent relief initiatives and exclude tenants who miss the application deadline.

March 30, 2022, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Apartment renter

Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock

Writing for CalMatters, Manuela Tobias explains the impact of California's extended rent relief, which lawmakers are scrambling to pass this week as current eviction protections are set to expire. According to Tobias, "the state’s rent relief program, which has struggled to reach the neediest tenants and landlords from the start, continues to lag. As of last week, the state has paid $2.4 billion to about 214,000 households — fewer than half of all who have applied for aid."

Because of these delays, "Last Thursday, the state’s top legislative leaders struck another last-minute deal designed to stave off eviction for another three months for hundreds of thousands of renters who have applied for relief but are still waiting to hear back." Assembly Bill 2179, passed by the state Assembly unanimously on Monday, "would shield tenants through June 30 as the state continues to process their paperwork" if approved by the state Senate.

As a concession to the California Apartment Association, "Local jurisdictions won’t be allowed to enact new tenant protections until July 1, and any protections put in place by local governments after Aug. 19, 2020, will also be delayed." Tenant advocates criticize this move, which would invalidate "hard-fought protections" in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Advocates also worry that many tenants don't know about the programs available to them and will miss the deadline to apply. "According to another recent survey of 58 tenant organizations across the state by Tenants Together, an advocacy group, 90% of organizations helping renters apply for aid said their tenants reported difficulties applying."

Monday, March 28, 2022 in CALmatters

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