The newly-signed relief bill will bring the much needed money for rental assistance, as California faces the deadline for eviction moratoriums.
Many renters worry landlords will evict them and landlords have to pay their bills too.
Sylvia Lopez, a single mother of three and resident of Vista, had just made plans to leave her job cleaning homes to start her own cleaning business. But then the pandemic hit, eliminating her income almost immediately, she told NBC7.
"Everybody was shutting down pretty much and I didn't know where to start, what to do,” said Lopez.
And then came the eviction notices.
“I feel like they're (landlords) stressed just as much as we're stressed. Everybody has to pay bills regardless."
The COVID-19 relief package includes a nationwide extension on eviction moratorium and rental assistance. But as long as things are shutdown, finding a job has been nearly impossible, Lopez said
“Its’ really hard to stay afloat. Provide for your home, pay rent on top of that,” said Lopez.
Just before President Trump signed the bill Sunday, Lopez expressed what she would say to lawmakers.
“Just to have a heart. We are all struggling. We are all struggling. It’s really hard."
Rafael Bautista with San Diego Tenants United, said despite the law, landlords have bullied people out of their homes with threats of eviction. Bautista said renters have rights and can fight back.
“Any rent that was accumulated through the moratorium has to go through a small claims collection process which is completely different where they can’t remove you from your home and they can only file for that collection. They can’t force you to pay it,” said Bautista. "There’s no way for landlords to just lock you out, turn off your utilities or make any extraordinary attempts to get you of the home."
Lopez was able to work out a payment plan with the help of private organizations and the initial round of federal assistance.
Molly Kirkland, a spokesperson for the Southern California Rental Housing Association told NBC7 she has not heard of many evictions related to COVID-19 hardships.
“Nobody wants to evict anybody or displace anybody, certainly not right now,” said Kirkland. “Any evictions going forward are from either prior to the pandemic. It means they have not turned in a hardship for, or they’re not facing a hardship. Or it’s for reasons unrelated to rent.”
The current moratorium prevents the eviction of COVID related debt so long as they return a declaration of financial hardship, Kirkland told NBC7.
It required tenants to pay 25% of the monthly rent September 1 through January 31, 2021 or all of it by January 2021.
The bill includes roughly $2 billion for California rental assistance, according to Governor Newsom, and a one month extension the moratorium.
Many hope a longer term solution is worked out to help landlords and tenants, especially with the back-rent debt that has been accumulated.