By Chris Wysocki
GOVERNOR SIGNS SB 91 INTO LAW, EXTENDS EVICTION MORATORIUM THROUGH JUNE 30, 2021
Last Friday, Governor Newsom signed SB 91 into law, which extends the eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021, and establishes a rental assistance program. The State of California will appropriate $1.4 billion directly received from the federal COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Fund to the State Rental Assistance Program. Local governments in California have received $1.2 billion in additional funds, which may be used to administer their own rental assistance programs. The Department of Housing and Community Development will administer the State Rental Assistance Program. Local governments that have a population that exceeds 200,000 will receive money directly from the federal COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Fund and will administer their own separate program in a manner consistent with the State Rental Assistance Program.
During the virtual bill signing, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins noted that while a lifeline has been extended, there is still more work to be done. Legislative leadership and the Administration acknowledged the challenges surrounding implementing this program and pledged to work with state agencies, housing providers, and stakeholders to facilitate the rollout.
SB 91 requires parkowners to send out a notice about the changes in the law to all residents who owe one or more rental payments due between March 1, 2020, and February 1, 2021. This includes residents who owe rent for this time period and have not received a notice to pay rent or quit, have received a 15-day notice but did not return the declaration, and/or have received a 15-day notice and did return the declaration. This notice must be sent out by February 28, 2021.
WMA sent out an alert along with the Informational Notice of COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act Extension and New Rental Assistance Program, which can be found on WMA’s website at https://www.wma.org/ as well as this month’s issue of the WMA Reporter.
The Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency (BCSH) prepared an overview of the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act provisions. They plan to partner with stakeholders to implement the education and outreach campaign, including designing and building a central application portal, establishing a local partner network to get the word out, and a call center to provide technical assistance to residents and landlords to get the maximum use of the program.
Please click here to view: COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act - BCSH (ca.gov)
LEGISLATURE CONTINUES TO INTRODUCE BILLS
With the deadline of February 19 for bill introductions, the Legislature has already introduced more than 670 pieces of legislation, including more than 180 so-called “Budget Trailer” bills that can be taken up without going through the normal committee process. Our staff continues to monitor these bills daily.
Members can easily track any bill of interest by clicking on the following link:
COMMITTEES TO START SOON
While Budget Sub Committees are currently meeting, the Assembly Rules Committee and the Senate Rules Committee have begun assigning bills to relevant policy committees. Over the coming weeks, committees will begin scheduling hearings. WMA members will be asked to engage with Senators and Assemblymembers serving on key policy committees by writing letters of support and opposition on pertinent legislation.
Chris Wysocki is WMA’s State Legislative Advocate. He may be reached at email@example.com.