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San Diego renters protected with new 'no fault' eviction ban

The city’s new eviction moratorium is now in place for renters who are up-to-date on their rent payments and abiding by the terms of their leases.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego renters can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they are a little bit more secure as the city’s new eviction moratorium is now in place for renters who are up-to-date on their rent payments and abiding by the terms of their leases.

“San Diego cannot afford to have one more person enter into homelessness and this is a way to prevent that,” said San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, who championed this measure.   

The new rules that went into effect Sunday prevent landlords from removing tenants for ‘no fault’ reasons. 

“Despite having paid their rent on time,” said Elo-Rivera. “Despite having abided by the terms of their lease, they were still being evicted because the rental market in San Diego is such that landlords know that if they do a bit of an upgrade and some minor renovations, they can jack up rent substantially.” 

Under the moratorium, if a landlord or family member wants to move into the unit, they need to provide the tenant with 90 days-notice.  If they want to take the property off the rental market, they now must provide six months-notice. 

“What we have done though is ensure that there’s fewer exceptions to the rules and when someone is going to be evicted, that they’re given enough time to get their life together,” said Elo-Rivera. 

However, some people feel like the moratorium is unnecessary. 

“It feels a little bit like a solution looking for a problem,” said Lucinda Lilley, president of the Southern California Rental Housing Association, which expressed opposition when the measure was approved by the San Diego City Council in April. 

“I don’t think that it’s been properly vetted,” said Lilley. “I don’t think that there is any data that shows that it is necessary.” 

Elo-Rivera points to research from the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.  During a seven month period from July 2021 through January 2022, they received 1,400 requests for assistance with housing-related issues and ‘no fault’ evictions made up 23% of those requests. 

“If you want to sell your property,” said Elo-Rivera. “That’s your right but you’re going to give the tenant that’s living in your home right now enough notice to get things together so they don’t end up on the streets with their family.” 

With the soaring cost of rent in San Diego, evicted tenants can be hard-pressed to find a new place to live and laying down security deposit, first and last month’s rent can be a steep amount of cash to come up with on short notice. 

“If I were to tell the average tenant, ‘You have 30 days to move and find a new place,’ that’s probably going to mean paying substantially more for rent,” said Elo-Rivera.  “We were estimating somewhere in the range of $6,000 - $8,000 dollars someone would have to come up with and what if you’ve got kids?  What if you’re trying to keep your kids in the same school?” 

The ‘no fault’ eviction moratorium is set to expire September 30 or 60 days after the pandemic state of emergency ends, whichever comes first.  

WATCH RELATED: San Diego City Council to vote on 'no-fault' eviction moratorium (May 2022).

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