Governor Newsom: Staying Home and Staying Healthy: New Resources for California Renters
No matter what the outcome of these elections or what happens in Washington DC, in California we will continue to do everything in our power to help everyone stay safe, healthy and housed during this crisis.
It is almost November, and millions of Americans are preparing for the most important election of our lives. Too much is at stake, and I want to invite each and every Californians who can vote to take this opportunity to shape the future of our country.
But it is also a time of great fear for people who are facing a very difficult economic situation. It’s almost the first of the month, and it’s time to pay the rent. That’s why we’re introducing new tenant resources.
If you are having trouble paying your rent and are concerned about the fear of eviction, know that you are not alone . At the California Capitol, we’re working hard to help you continue to have a place to live, and we’ve made new tenant resources and protections available to you , right now.
Addressing the California housing crisis has been a key priority for me since I began my job as Governor. Having a safe and affordable home is a basic key to the Californian dream , and it should be kept within the reach of all Californians.
For decades, the high cost of housing in California has made it harder for families to stay afloat, and it has made it even harder to get ahead. Last year we took steps to help more Californians so they can continue to have a place to live, enacting the most robust tenant protections in the nation.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has left us facing even more challenges. Millions of Californians are facing the anguish of potential eviction coming in the fall due to the impact of COVID-19, because they have lost their jobs or work hours, have become ill, or have had to face new expenses, such as caring for children children.
Suffering an eviction or foreclosure is always devastating, but now it presents a new danger, since we are in the middle of a pandemic, when having a home to shelter and stay safe is so important.
It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, but it has not affected us all equally . The impact of COVID on lives and livelihoods has had a disproportionate impact on our diverse communities. Census data from July 2020 showed that of all California tenants who are behind on rent, three-quarters are Latino or African American.
In partnership with the State Legislature, we have passed a bill to help people who have fallen behind in paying their rent if they were financially affected by COVID.
Therefore, if you are owing rent from March 2020 to date because you were affected by COVID, that is, if you lost your job, got sick or had your work hours cut, you are protected against eviction, as long as you can. take a few simple steps.
These are the resources for tenants
If the owner of the house where you live gives you a “pay or quit” notice, stating that you have a certain amount of time to pay the rent you owe, or you will have to leave, but you cannot pay the total amount because you were affected by COVID, then you can fill out a document and give it to the property owner.
It’s the Tenant Distress Form for tenants, and you can find it on our new website: www.HousingIsKey.ca.gov .
It is available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog (Filipino), and Vietnamese.
You must sign it and do not delay in sending it as soon as possible. You must give this document to the property owner within 15 days of receiving the “pay or vacate” notice so that you can be protected against eviction.
You will still owe the unpaid rent , but if you cannot pay the full rent due to COVID, you will not be evicted for any rental debt that accrued between March and August of this year.
And you can’t be evicted for unpaid rent during that period, as long as you pay at least 25% (a quarter) of the rent you owe between September this year and January next year.
While this bill will give tenants some extra time to try and recover, this is not a permanent thing. At the moment, protection against evictions only protects them until February 1, 2021 .
That’s why we have continued to advocate for the federal government to take action to help protect tenants. We have made great progress in helping more Californians to stay in one place to live during this emergency, but while our state is so large and influential, we cannot face a nationwide crisis on our own.
We continue to ask the federal government to help us protect renters and homeowners. We also ask that you assist us in taking other important steps. Among others, the expansion of unemployment insurance and full funding for essential services such as health, nutrition, education and childcare.
In addition, we have also called for support to be given to state and local governments that are fighting COVID-19 and now must make difficult decisions regarding their budgets.
Without federal support for renters and homeowners, anyone who is out of work, behind on rent, or having trouble paying medical bills will face the possibility of losing their home. .
That is not right, it is not fair and it is not good for our economy or for our communities.
Investing in peace of mind for our tenants can make a difference across the country. It would help stabilize the housing market, help the United States recover from the devastating economic effects of the pandemic, and allow people not to lose their homes.
Regardless of the outcome of these elections or what happens in Washington DC, in California we will continue to do everything in our power to help everyone stay safe, healthy and housed during this crisis.
Because all Californians deserve to have a place we can call home.
You can find more information about resources for tenants, your rights, and get free or low-cost legal help at https://lawhelpca.org/