The San Diego City Council voted on Tuesday to extend eviction protections for renters and businesses, a proposal brought forward by Mayor Todd Gloria last week.
"Getting through this pandemic, financially and emotionally, is hard enough for residents and small businesses," Gloria said in a news release sent out after the vote. "The last thing they need to worry about is being evicted. I thank the city council for partnering with me to ensure that San Diegans won't lose their home or their storefront because they couldn’t make the rent due to COVID-19. We will get through this together, and we will build back better"
Gloria made more than $42 million in federal emergency rental assistance available to city residents last week.
Last year, the city created programs that distributed more than$15 million in assistance for struggling residential renters and nearly $19 million for small businesses.
The $42.3 million the city has received as a result of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law in December, is intended to 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
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The city will continue advocating for a share of state and federal assistance for small-business relief proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden, Gloria said.
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 by Newsom took precedence over the city ordinance.
However, that law sunsets after Jan 31. To continue providing protection for renters, the City Council passed the emergency ordinance Tuesday, which will remain in effect for residential tenants until 60 days after the city's emergency declaration is lifted.
Businesses were also protected from eviction by last year's ordinance but were not covered under the legislation Newsom signed. Gloria's plan reinstates protections for commercial tenants through June 30, 2021, or 60 days after the city's emergency declaration is lifted, whichever comes first.
Under the ordinances, residents and businesses are 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.
Qualifying residents cannot 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 Assembly Bill 3088 take precedence for rental debt accumulated September 2020 through January 2021.
Affected businesses will have six months from the end of the commercial eviction moratorium to make any outstanding payments.