Rent relief extended on state, federal level

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he’d signed into law legislation to protect tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure for those facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

“Clearly, COVID has had a profound impact, and despite having some of the strongest renter protections in the nation, that has not ameliorated the stress the anxiety that millions and millions of renters and homeowners are facing struggling with this pandemic,” Newsom said during a Wednesday briefing. 

With much of the eviction protections put in place through the pandemic either expired or near expiring, the Aspen Institute estimates between 30 million and 40 million Americans could be at risk of eviction in the next several months.

Assembly Bill 3088 was passed by the Senate on Monday and presented to Newsom late that night before he signed it into law.

Under the new legislation, no tenant can be evicted before Feb. 1 because of rent owed due to a COVID-19-related hardship that was accrued between March and August 2020, while tenants must pay 25% of rent due September through January to avoid eviction. 

In addition, the legislation extends anti-foreclosure protections put in place by the Homeowner Bill of Rights, protecting small property owners who request forbearance.

California’s protections come as the Trump administration announced Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to use its authority to temporarily ban evictions through the end of the year.

Under both the state and federal moratoriums, though unpaid rent cannot be the basis for eviction, tenants are still responsible for paying the unpaid sum to their landlords.

The new California legislation is not expected to affect local ordinances, which can remain in place until they expire, or any future ordinances, unless they are less restrictive. 

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