Assemblywoman Carrillo Votes to Extend CA’s Eviction Moratorium, and Disburse $2.6 Billion in Federal Funds for Immediate Rent Relief

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement alongside her enthusiastic vote in support of trailer bill AB 80 (SB 91) to extend the eviction moratorium, provide renters and small landlords with direct relief, and protect Californians impacted by COVID-19:

Both Californians with no income, and those one paycheck away from losing their homes, need our protection. Both need us to act with urgency and resolve. Extending the eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021 to protect tenants and small landlords with mortgages, and other debts, is vital. Delivering $2.6 billion in federal aid funds in an equitable, transparent, and accountable way, is critical. And tackling housing costs, as well as our homeless and houseless crises as a state, is crucial. We must align our efforts, and make them sustainable.” - Assemblywoman Carrillo, AD-51, Los Angeles

               
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Summary of AB 80 (SB 91) Eviction Protection Legislation:

Eviction Moratorium Extension

  • Extends provisions of AB 3088, which had provided protections until January 31, 2021. The extension will be until June 30, 2021 and covers the following:
    • Tenants who pay 25 percent of monthly rent receive eviction protections. The 25 percent can take the form of a 25 percent of monthly rent paid each month; or a lump sum payment by June 30, 2021 that brings the total paid to 25 percent of what is due, over the period covered.
    • Preemptions on local jurisdictions are extended. The preemptions prevent locals from changing local eviction rules beyond what was in place on August 19, 2020.

Provides Additional Tenant Protections

  • Caps the maximum recoverable attorney fees on an action to recover COVID-19 rental debt brought as a limited or unlimited civil case.
  • Provides that in any action seeking recovery of COVID-19 rental debt, the court may reduce the damages awarded if the court determines that the landlord refused to obtain rental assistance from the State Rental Assistance Program created in this bill, where the tenant met the eligibility requirements and funding was available.
  • Prohibits late fees on COVID-19 rent debt until June 30.
  • Prohibits a housing provider, tenant screening company, or other entity that evaluates tenants on behalf of a housing provider from using an alleged COVID-19 rental debt as a negative factor for the purpose of evaluating a prospective housing application or as the basis for refusing to rent a dwelling unit to an otherwise qualified prospective tenant.
  • Prevents landlords from applying current tenant payments retroactively to back rent or other charges.
  • Prevents a landlord from selling or assigning unpaid COVID-19 rental debt, for the time period between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. This remains in effect until July 1, 2021.
  • Prevents a landlord from ever selling or assigning unpaid COVID-19 rental debt, for the time period between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021 for any person that would have qualified under the rental assistance funding and where the household income is at or below 80 percent of the area median for calendar year 2020.

$2.61B Rental Assistance Program

  • Establishes Rental Assistance Program reducing COVID-19 rental debt by providing rent subsidies based on a total of $2.61 billion in federal rental relief dollars, a portion of which went directly to large jurisdictions from the federal government.
    • Eligibility for this program is based on federal eligibility rules.
    • Based on federal rules, the rental assistance program is available to eligible tenants whose household income is no more than 80 percent of area median (AMI) for the 2020 calendar year.
    • Priority is given to tenants whose household incomes are no more than 50 percent of AMI.
  • Pays landlords 80 percent of total amount of rent in arrears incurred between April 2020 and March 2021.
    • Landlords must agree to forgive the remaining 20 percent and not pursue evictions or go after remaining debt.
    • This is not 80 percent of total rent for the period, but 80 percent of the amount in arrears (if the tenant has paid some rent, then its 80% of whatever is remaining due).
    • Pays 25 percent of rent arrears, if the tenant applies for assistance, but the landlord does not participate, to help the tenant pay off the rental arrears that they accumulated from September 2020 - March 2021. This will help prevent the tenant from being evicted for rental arrears during that period.
    • Pays 25 percent of up to three months of prospective payments on behalf of tenants. Assistance is paid to landlord directly. This would be for months after March 2021 and reflects the federal program’s 15-month cap (this prioritized after paying arrears, resources permitting).
  • Requires landlords to notify tenants who owe back rent of the availability of the rental assistance program.
    • Prohibits landlords from proceeding with an eviction if they have not first notified the tenant about the rental assistance program.
  • Creates a program administrator to implement the federal rental assistance funding.
    • Permits the state to contract with a vendor to serve as the program implementer to manage and fund services to distribute emergency rental assistance resources. This vendor will be a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
    • The state has created controls for successful CDFI distribution of these funds.
    • CDFI contractor is required to:
      • Show capacity to implement a statewide system
      • Demonstrate technological capacity
      • Include multiple languages and customer service assistance as part of outreach
      • Meet state reporting requirements
  • Creates a funding formula for the distribution of the federal funds throughout the state
    • Counties with a population below 200,000 and the cities within it would be served by the statewide CDFI administrator system. There is a $150 million set aside to serve the constituents of this group.
    • Cities and counties with a population greater than 200,000 received some of the funding available to them directly from the federal government. (This is captured within the $2.61 billion relief package.)
      • These larger jurisdictions may also choose to administer a portion of funding that would come from the state as a block grant. If they chose not to administer their own program, the state will still provide rental assistance to residents of that jurisdiction. The funding would be distributed by the CDFI administrator system.
      • Requires large jurisdictions receiving the block grant to use state payment percentages and follow all applicable state rules.
      • Additional scrutiny will be placed on large counties not accepting a block grant and administering their own program to ensure program integrity.
                                                                               

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Extended statement provided by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles):

“Our Golden State took a monumental step today to protect families from homelessness and housing instability, and in the fight against our public health crisis by extending the universal eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021.

California’s COVID eviction protections are the strongest statewide rules in the nation. I was proud to have worked with my colleagues last year to pass AB 3088, legislation that extended protections to tenants and homeowners unable to make their rent or mortgage payments during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Without it, we would have seen evicted families by the thousands, forced to turn to shelters already at capacity, crowding the homes of family and friends, and sleeping in cars and on the streets. 

Our new agreement not only extends the eviction moratorium in California through June 30, 2021 – protecting tenants and small landlords from losing their housing as the nation continues to confront the pandemic. It also seeks to move forward as quickly as possible in the deployment of California’s share of the latest federal stimulus bill – ensuring that up to $2.6 billion in renter aid is administered with equity, transparency, and accountability.

These federal dollars will be targeted to the most at-risk households with unpaid back rent, and will help tenants stay afloat during and after the pandemic. Income-qualified tenants and their landlords can choose to receive direct rental assistance in exchange for forgiving prior rental debt.

This eviction moratorium and rapid deployment of federal funds to the most at-risk are our first step. Our next steps must be to tackle the housing costs, as well as the homeless and houseless crises in California. The pandemic exacerbated these crises, it did not create them. As the Chair of the Assembly’s Budget Sub 4 Committee, I convened a hearing on the State of California’s role in these crises, in order to underscore the need to align our efforts and make them sustainable. 

There were Californians with no income in danger of losing their homes before COVID-19 arrived. There are Californians who will find themselves one paycheck away from losing their homes after COVID-19 is gone. Both need our protection. Both need us to act with urgency and resolve.”