CALIFORNIA, USA — This story was originally published by CalMatters.
Over the last year, California has enacted strong laws protecting tenants from eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet at least 10,000 households have fallen through the cracks.
Tenants were much more likely to be evicted in some parts of the state, partly depending on additional local protections, and those lockouts ramped up over time, especially in 2021, CalMatters found in a recent investigation. Why is that?
On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” CalMatters’ Manuela Tobias and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon discuss the holes in California’s so-called eviction moratorium — as well as what tenants and landlords should know about the latest ban that goes through Sept. 30 — with the law’s main author, Assemblymember David Chiu, a Democrat from San Francisco.
Chiu talks about why it has been so difficult and complicated for the state to beef up eviction protections and distribute the billions of dollars available for low-income tenants to catch up on back rent — and how he hopes the new law will address those challenges.
“The next three months is critical,” he said, to speed up rent relief payments funded by $5.2 billion in federal aid. “If we run out of money, all bets are off.”
“What I don’t know is what happens on Sept. 30,” he added, though he fears increased evictions.
Will there be another extension to eviction protections past that date? Chiu said he wanted the moratorium to go to at least the end of the year, but wasn’t able to make that happen in the last-ditch negotiations. He said he hopes the Legislature will debate the issue again before it adjourns on Sept. 10.
But that and other key questions for tenants and landlords remain up in the air.
WATCH RELATED: Legal loopholes allow CA landlords to force tenants out even during eviction moratorium (Feb. 2021)