COVID-19 Resources for Homeowners and Renters



HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS


Events: Workshops and Webinars

On October 15, 2020, ECHO Housing held a live webinar presentation for tenants and landlords of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties about tenant protections. To access this presentation, click here. For information about ECHO Housing, please visit www.echofairhousing.org.
Moratorium on evictions: city, county and state legislative actions

State Assembly Bill 3088: Tenant, Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief Stabilization Act of 2020
In 2020, several new laws were established to assist households financially affected by COVID-19. On August 31, 2020, the Governor signed AB 3088: Tenant, Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020, a statewide eviction moratorium that applies to residential tenants and small property owners. Subsequently, the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (SB 91) took effect on February 1, 2021, which extends and expands AB 3088. Both laws, AB 3088 and SB 91, protects tenants with a COVID-related financial impact from eviction for nonpayment of rent, including set requirements for unpaid rent starting in March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. It also protects tenants from "no cause" evictions, meaning an eviction where the landlord does not state a reason. There is information and links below to a variety of resources for both tenants and property owners.

As required by AB 3088, landlords are to provide:

1. Notice of Tenants Rights Under AB 3088 details tenants’ rights available as a result of COVID-19 financial hardships
  • Must be provided to tenant(s) by September 30, 2020 if one or more rental payments between March 1, 2020 – August 31, 2020; and/or
  • With any notice demanding rent or other payment obligations under the lease between September 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.
2. Extended 15-Day Notice to Pay or Quit extends timeline from 3 to 15 days (excluding weekends and holidays) for tenant(s) to either:
3. Higher Income Tenants are households earning at least 130% of median income, as published by the Department of Housing & Community Development, may be required to provide documentation to support their declaration upon a landlord’s request. All household members, including minors, shall be considered in determining the household size.

Any unpaid rent between March 1, 2020 – August 31, 2020, is not grounds for eviction, but is still owed to the landlord as a form of consumer debt. Small claims court is temporarily extended to allow landlords to recover these amounts after March 1, 2021.

Any unpaid rent due between September 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, is due unless the tenant is unable to pay due to COVID-19 hardship. In this case, tenants must provide the declaration of hardship to the landlord and pay an amount that equals at least 25% of the total rent by June 30, 2021 for rent that came due or will come due anytime during the period of September 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.

REMEMBER: A declaration of hardship must be provided to the landlord if tenants are unable to pay any portion of the rent amount due and have decreased income or increased expenses due to COVID-19, tenants must sign and deliver the declaration of to the landlord to be covered under these protections. A blank form is available on the State’s website here.

Links to Resources

Additional forms, resources and guidelines can be accessed at Housing is Key, here.

To access AB 3088 and its full legal requirements, please visit the California Legislative Information website by clicking here.

County residents in need of housing counseling can reach out to the Contra Costa Housing Services Collaborative at no cost.

If you need additional information or have questions, please contact Aissia Ashoori, Housing Analyst, at aashoori@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

  • Contra Costa County Moratorium on Evictions and Rent Increases: On February 2, 2021, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Urgency Ordinance No. 2021-04 that continues a temporary eviction moratorium for certain residential tenants and a moratorium on certain residential rent increases through June 30, 2021. The Urgency Ordinance also continues a temporary eviction moratorium for certain commercial tenants through March 31, 2021. Ordinance No. 2021-04 supersedes Ordinance No. 2020-29. See Press Release (PDF). See Urgency Ordinance No. 2021-04 (PDF). Please visit the County’s website here for additional information.
        You can also view the City's Frequently Asked Questions for details about both the City and County ordinances.

  • City of El Cerrito Temporary Moratorium on Evictions: On March 25, 2020, the City Council joined other local cities in adopting an Urgency Ordinance enacting a temporary moratorium to halt evictions for residential and commercial tenants financially impacted by COVID-19. At this time, the Ordinance is set to expire upon the expiration of the local emergency or the Governor’s Proclamation Of A State of Emergency, whichever is later. The Ordinance does not establish rent forgiveness but provides temporary rent forbearance to those who qualify by providing 6-months, from the Ordinance expiration date, to catch up on unpaid rent and suspends late fees from being charged for qualified residential and commercial tenants who can demonstrate loss of income or revenue due to COVID-19. The City encourages tenants to notify their property owner/manager to discuss a repayment plan if you are experiencing loss of income from work, childcare costs related to school closures, healthcare costs related to COVID-19. Property owners also have expenses mounting and similar actions are being taken by the Federal Government and banking industry to provide mortgage and other relief.
  • California Courts Limit the Types of Unlawful Detainers Through August 31, 2020
On April 6, 2020, the California Judicial Council approved an emergency order court rule, effective immediately, that halts all processing of eviction and foreclosure proceedings through August 31, 2020. The order applies to all California courts and all evictions, regardless of cause, and will remain in effect until 90 days after the Governor’s State of Emergency expires on May 31, 2020, or until amended/repealed by the Judicial Council. The only exceptions are evictions that are found to be necessary for the public health or safety. More details about the emergency rules can be found here.
  • On March 16, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20 to protect residential and commercial tenants as well as homeowners experiencing sudden financial hardship as a result of COVID19.
  • Additional information regarding tenant protections is available at el-cerrito.org/tenantprotections.

Other Resources


Contra Costa County Allocates CARES Funds for Housing Aid

  • Shelter Inc. – COVID 19 Hotline for County Residents at 925-349-0571
The SHELTER, Inc. COVID-19 hotline serves community members affected by the COVID-19 virus. These dedicated emergency funds are for those who are impacted during these trying times. This program, an expansion of their eviction prevention hotline, assists families who have lost income, increased expenses for safety precautions, and are at risk of losing their housing.
Available assistance: Payment of past due rent, payment of current month's rent, payment of future months' rent, payment of outstanding utility bills, funds for food and necessities, funds for short-term emergency housing, referrals to other services.
In Contra Costa County call 211 or 925.349.0571, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday (except holidays) for more information.
Are you a veteran? To learn about COVID-19 veteran help click here!
  • Contra Costa Housing Services Collaborative: If you are a tenant, homeowner, or landlord in need of assistance, you are eligible to receive one-on-one counseling services through this County partnership. ECHO Housing has also received additional funding to assist with COVID-19 households in need of tenant/landlord counseling and related legal services for COVID-19-affected tenant households
  • On August 28, 2020, Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services launched the COVID- 19 Rapid Response Fund-Share. The program provides support to single-family households with minor children and/or seniors, who can demonstrate a COVID-19 financial hardship and are at risk of losing utility services. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come/first-serve basis and awards will be based on family size. To apply, please email info@eastbaynhs.org. Click here to view and print the application.
  • Mortgage Payment Relief - some banks and mortgage companies are providing mortgage relief. Check with your mortgage company for details.
Governor Newsom's announcement on mortgage relief plan.
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association If you are in need of legal information or a lawyer referral, please schedule a consultation by contacting 925-825-5700 or click here.
  • Contra Costa Crisis Center: The County’s 211 database provides a comprehensive, up-to-date, and free-of-charge database of local health and social services.
  • Catholic Charities, Housing Services in Contra Costa County: If you are at-risk of losing your current housing or need help to move to more stable housing, then Catholic Charities might be able to help you. Please dial (925) 825-3099 to be screened for assistance.
  • United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Foreclosure Resources: If you are unable to make your mortgage payment, avoid foreclosure by speaking with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Please contact one of the following local agencies: BALANCE 800.777.7526, ECHO Housing 855-ASK-ECHO or Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services 510-237-6459. You can also access the full list here or dial 800-569-4287 to locate a housing counseling agency in your area.
  • Bay Area Legal Aid: Provides legal assistance to low-income County residents. Please contact their legal advice line at 800-551-5554.
  • Housing and Economic Rights Advocates: HERA is California statewide, not-for-profit legal service and advocacy organization dedicated to helping Californians. Their staff provides free legal services, consumer workshops, training for professionals and community organizing and engage in policy work locally, statewide and nationally.
  • The State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) may be able to provide income replacement for a variety of reasons during these difficult times. If you have been laid off, experienced a reduction in hours, sick/quarantined, caring for an ill/quarantined family member or your child’s school is closed you may be eligible for benefits. Governor Newsom recently waived the one-week unpaid waiting period and encourages those affected to file a claim as soon as possible to avoid a delay in benefits. Please visit the EDD website for more information: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm
  • COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund-Share for Contra Costa County Residents

Utilities



Bay Area utility providers have voluntarily implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment for both residential and commercial customers, effective immediately and until further notice.

Other Information



Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and the Federal Home Loan Banks are taking steps to help people who have been impacted by the Coronavirus. Please visit the Federal Housing Financial Agency (FHFA) for more information about Mortgage Help for Homeowners Impacted by the Coronavirus – March 24, 2020.

If you need additional information or have questions, please contact Aissia Ashoori, Housing Analyst, at aashoori@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

The City also has a special webpage at www.el-cerrito.org/COVID19 which is a central clearinghouse for information related to City services and other resources related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. If you’d like to receive text or email updates about the City’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, please visit el-cerrito.org/notifyme. Sign in to subscribe to “Alert Center” for "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update.