California Assembly Unanimously Approves Bill to Extend Statewide Eviction Protections Through End of June

In a recent research paper, faithfully estimated it would take the state, at its current pace, through the end of November to deliver rental assistance to everyone who’s already applied.

Despite ultimately voting in favor of the bill, some lawmakers argued it should have gone further to protect tenants. Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, said the bill should extend not only eviction protections but also the time renters have to apply for rental assistance — a window that closes on Thursday.

“I fear that there are many people out there who, because of language difficulties or other issues, will not have submitted an application,” he said at an Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing Monday.

A survey of 58 organizations helping tenants apply to the rent relief program found many were still having trouble with the application process, running up against problems like language barriers, excessive wait times, a lack of status updates, insufficient community outreach, and gaps in coordination between state and local agencies, among other issues.

Some lawmakers also voiced concern that the bill overrides stronger, local protections that were set to go into effect on April 1, including those in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“LA County did in January pass a pretty comprehensive renter-protections ordinance that extends to December,” Faith Conley of the California State Association of Counties said at the Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing Monday. “It’s a very thoughtful, phased-out process that offers a lot more protections than are considered in this bill.”

But the California Rental Housing Association, a landlord group, is balking at the proposed extension of eviction protections. Speaking on behalf of the organization, lobbyist Kate Bell said extending protections would harm small landlords.

“As the state has reopened and the pandemic regresses, there is no longer a need to have a statewide eviction moratorium,” she said.

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, the bill’s other co-author, admitted during Monday’s Assembly hearing that the legislation “is not perfect.”

“I fear that if we don’t move this bill forward, we’re going to see a mass wave of evictions in all of our communities,” she said.

Representatives from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, which oversees the rental assistance program, did not immediately respond to questions about how it plans to ensure that all qualified applicants receive aid by the new June 30 deadline.

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