With massive layoffs impacting tens of thousands of low-wage workers, we know that many will be challenged to pay bills, including rent. Immediate action is needed to ensure that these workers and their families do not lose their homes. Santa Clara County is already grappling with how to bring an estimated 8.000 homeless residents inside to shield them from COVID-19. It is up to us to ensure that this number does not grow.
At both the State and local levels, elected officials have taken action to protect tenants from eviction. It is important to note, however, that these responses only address the immediate challenge. A moratorium on evictions will not relieve tenants of paying rent in the long run. As a result, SV@Home is working with partners throughout the region and State to develop responses to ensure that tenants will not be displaced when the moratorium ends.
Eviction Moratorium Update and Where it Leaves Us
On September 30th, Santa Clara County’s eviction moratorium lapsed, meaning that the state’s eviction moratorium, known as AB 3088, now governs evictions in Santa Clara County. AB 3088 is a stopgap eviction moratorium measure passed by the legislature that lasts through the end of January.
Under AB 3088, tenants will need to pay 25% of their rent due for the September 2020 – January 2021 time period by January 31st in order to be protected from eviction. Landlords must inform tenants of their protections under AB 3088 if they choose to serve an eviction notice during this timeframe, or the eviction does not have legal force. Forms for landlords are available here. Tenants have 15 days to respond to a notice to pay or quit, and if they fill out this form stating that they meet certain criteria, they are protected from eviction.
AB 3088 only protects tenants from eviction for nonpayment of rent. Evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent, such as lease violations, can be filed starting on October 5th – it remains to be seen whether October 5th will see an avalanche of evictions filed. For FAQs about protections under AB 3088, visit the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley’s helpful guide.
This law is very complex. However, there are some tools that may be able to help you navigate rights and protections:
- The state has created a website to inform landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities under the new law at https://landlordtenant.dre.ca.gov/index.html. It includes an interactive app/tool that asks questions and provides information relevant to your situation.
- Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) has created an excellent summary of everything tenants need to know about AB 3088 and other COVID eviction protections: Learn Your COVID Eviction Protections – ACCE
- Sacred Heart Community Service has created a chatbot that can walk you through your rights, responsibilities, and options: Sacred Heart Chatbot.
- Santa Clara County tenants who are confused about their rights can call the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley at 408-280-2424 to speak to a lawyer, or visit https://www.lawfoundation.org/housing for an online intake form.
So where does this leave struggling tenants and landlords in Santa Clara County? The intent of the eviction moratoria is to keep as many people as possible in their homes and to avoid mass displacement. Without additional intervention, however, this action will simply be temporary with real risks for displacement and economic impact on smaller landlords and affordable housing providers. This crisis is of a scale that only the Federal Government has the resources to comprehensively address. As of today, negotiations are ongoing in Washington about another stimulus proposal that includes targeted emergency assistance for both lower-income renters and landlords. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
If you receive an eviction notice during this COVID-19 emergency, reach out to the Law Foundation at 408-280-2424.
Rental Assistance Programs
Financial Assistance for Low-Income Residents Impacted by COVID-19
The Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System has temporary financial assistance available to help low-income residents who have lost income and are unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-related impacts. Learn more about eligibility for the program here. Visit sacredheartcs.org/covid19.
If you have questions about how to complete the application, please call 408-780-9134 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rental Assistance for Mountain View Renters (Community Services Agency)
To apply, contact the Community Services Agency (CSA). Access their information at CSACares.org or call (650) 968-0836 and leave a voicemail.