As a new year commences and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, local eviction protections are still in effect.
Like many cities, Winters relies on the statewide eviction moratorium known as the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, which remains in effect through Jan. 31, 2021. The city maintains an informational page on issues related to COVID-19, which contains info about the eviction moratorium and links to financial resources.
The statewide eviction moratorium went into effect Aug. 31, 2020, and essentially means that unpaid rent can’t be used as a basis for eviction for tenants who filed a declaration stating how COVID-19 interfered with their ability to pay rent, up until Jan. 31.
The amount of rent due from March through Aug. 31 2020 is convertible to consumer debt, and landlords can go to court starting March 1 this year to receive a judgment for repayment of the unpaid rent. The same protections apply to unpaid rent due between Sept. 1, 2020, and Jan. 31, but tenants must pay at least 25 percent of their rent for that period five days before the end of January to remain protected.
Yolo County continues to work with agencies such as Legal Services of Northern California and Yolo County Housing to help out residents facing housing issues during the pandemic, according to a press release. Videos from Legal Services of Northern California explaining the protections in English, Spanish and Russian can be found on YouTube.
The county press release also offers up an online information app developed by the California Department of Real Estate. The app provides a 2-minute interactive tool that helps users identify their rights and options as either a tenant or landlord. It’s available at: https://ucilaw.neotalogic.com/a/Cal-Covid-Info-App-for-Tenants-and-Landlords.
For those who need help paying their rent, Yolo County Housing offers the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. The program provides one-time rent relief grants directly to landlords on behalf of low-income tenants, effectively reducing the burden on the tenant and ensuring landlords receive revenue needed to maintain housing services, according to the program description.
According to Colleen Brock, senior management analyst at Yolo County Housing, the program has assisted six Winters residents so far and 33 are on the application list, waiting to be processed.