SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Governor Gavin Newsom says California will pay any overdue rents that have accumulated in the nation’s most populous state due to the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, a promise to keep landlords healthy while giving tenants a cleaner one Slate.
It remains to be seen whether California will ban evictions for unpaid rent beyond June 30, a pandemic-related order that should be temporary but is proving difficult to reverse.
The federal evacuation protection also expires on June 30th. California had put in place its own safeguards that extended to more people.
Newsom and legislative leaders meet privately to decide what to do as part of negotiations on the state’s operating budget of approximately $ 260 billion. An extension of the eviction ban appears to give California more time to spend all of the money to cover unpaid rents. But landlords and tenant rights groups argue about how long this extension should last.
“The expectation that people will be up and ready to pay the rent by July 1st is wholeheartedly unfair,” said Kelli Lloyd, a 43-year-old single mother who says she has been since the beginning of the Pandemic did not work consistently in March 2020.
Lloyd – a member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment – is said to be paying $ 1,924 a month for a rent-controlled two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the Crenshaw neighborhood of southern Los Angeles. But she says she is $ 30,000 in arrears after not working to care for her two children for most of the past year as day care centers closed and schools stopped personal learning.
This debt is likely to be covered by the government. But Lloyd said she recently lost a job with a real estate agent and hasn’t found another. She worries that if protection expires, she could be evicted.
“Just because the state has opened up again doesn’t mean people have access to their jobs,” she said.
Meanwhile, property manager Keith Becker in the Sonoma County wine-growing area says 14 tenants are more than $ 100,000 in arrears with rental payments. It put the owners financially under pressure, who, as Becker says, “have come to terms with it”.
But they have grown tired of the seemingly endless safeguards that he noted were aimed at managing a public health emergency and were not intended to be permanent.
“We should do our best to get back to where we started in December 2019. Everything else takes advantage of a crisis, ”he said.
California has $ 5.2 billion to pay people’s rent, money from several Congress-approved aid packages. That seems more than enough to cover all of the unpaid rent in the state, according to Jason Elliott, Newsom’s senior advisor on housing and homelessness.
But the state has been slow to distribute this money, and it is unlikely that it will be able to spend it all by June 30th. A report by the California Department of Housing and Community Development showed that of the $ 490 million in rental subsidies as of May 31, only $ 32 million had been paid out. That doesn’t include the 12 cities and 10 counties that run their own rental support programs.
“Getting a big new program off the ground overnight is a challenge,” said Rep. David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat and chairman of the congregation’s Housing and Community Development Committee. “Getting millions of renters and landlords into trouble for what the law is has been a challenge.”
Landlords cite the state’s rapid economic recovery as the reason for not extending the eviction moratorium any longer. California has created 495,000 new jobs since February. In April alone, California accounted for 38% of all new jobs in the US. This week Newsom lifted all restrictions on businesses and announced the grand reopening of the state.
“We’re going back to normal,” said Carlton. “It’s time to get back to work. It’s time to pay the rent. “
While middle- and high-wage employment has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, employment rates for people with annual incomes less than $ 27,000 have fallen more than 38% since January 2020, according to Opportunity Insights, a chartered accountant from Harvard University.
“The stock market may be fine, we can technically reopen, but people in low-wage jobs – who are disproportionately colored – are not back yet,” said Madeline Howard, senior attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
Some housing advocates are calling on the state to maintain the eviction ban until the unemployment rate among low-wage workers has fallen to pre-pandemic levels. It’s similar to how state officials would restrict businesses in counties where COVID-19 infection rates were higher, while those with lower infection rates could reopen faster.
Lawyers say they were encouraged when Newsom told Univision earlier this month that it would “definitely” end the eviction notice on Jan.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” said Francisco Duenas, general manager of Housing Now California. “We definitely need these protections as part of our recovery.”