In an effort to provide security and much-needed assistance for San Diegans struggling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Todd Gloria announced on Jan. 21 that the City will be making more than $42 million in emergency rental assistance available to San Diego residents and that he will bring forward a proposal to extend eviction protections for renters and businesses to the City Council on Tuesday.
“As long as San Diegans are suffering financially from this devastating pandemic, it’s the City’s obligation to do whatever it can to protect them,” Gloria said. “Our top priority is to ensure that no one becomes homeless or loses their storefront because they’ve lost income or revenue due to the emergency shutdown orders. The federal funding we’ve received will provide a huge boost for both renters and landlords.”
“This eviction moratorium helps us avoid further spread of COVID-19 and gives some relief to renters and businesses in these extremely difficult times,” said City Council President Jennifer Campbell. “I urge tenants and property owners to work together as we start on the path of vaccination and economic recovery.”
Last year, the City created programs that distributed more than $15 million in assistance for struggling residential renters and nearly $19 million for struggling small businesses. The $42.3 million the City has received as a result of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law in December, will provide financial assistance to cover unpaid rent and utilities for qualifying residential households affected by COVID-19. This funding will be distributed through a program administered by the San Diego Housing Commission, and details on eligibility and the application process will be forthcoming.
The City will continue advocating for a fair share of state and federal assistance for small business relief proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden.
The new proposal to ban evictions comes in a pair of ordinances.
Eviction ban for renters: Through an ordinance enacted last year, San Diego renters affected by the pandemic were protected from eviction between late March and August 2020. On Sept. 1, state urgency legislation signed last year by Newsom (AB 3088) took precedence over the City ordinance. However, that law sunsets after Jan 31. To provide continuous protection for renters, the City Council must pass a new emergency ordinance on Jan. 26. Gloria’s proposed ordinance for residential tenants would remain in effect until 60 days after the City’s emergency declaration is lifted.
Eviction ban for businesses: Businesses were also protected from eviction by last year’s City ordinance but were not covered under AB 3088. The second emergency ordinance Gloria will propose on Jan. 26 would reinstate protections for commercial tenants through June 30, or 60 days after the City’s emergency declaration is lifted, whichever comes first.
Repayment: Residents and businesses remain responsible for any unpaid rent or lease payments. Tenants and landlords are encouraged to work out repayment plans. Tenants must contact their landlords in order to qualify for protection.
Under the proposed ordinances, qualifying residents can never be evicted for unpaid rent due to financial hardship related to COVID-19 accrued during the period starting in March 2020 and ending 60 days after the City’s emergency declaration ends. Any unpaid rent that accumulates during this period and is not repaid will be converted to consumer debt. However, the terms of AB 3088 take precedence for rental debt accumulated September 2020 through January 2021.
Affected businesses would have six months from the end of the commercial eviction moratorium to make any outstanding payments.