Overview and State Rental Assistance
On January 29, 2021, Governor Newsom signed SB 91, which extends the existing statewide eviction protection law for terminations related to nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 financial hardship until June 30, 2021.
For rent due between September 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, a tenant may not be evicted for nonpayment of rent if they have done the following:
- Provide a signed declaration of financial hardship (Español, Tiếng Việt, русский, فارسی) to the landlord indicating that the tenant cannot pay rent due to COVID-19 related financial hardship.
- Pay at least 25% of total rent due between September 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 by June 30, 2021.
If your household income is more than 130% of the median household income in your county and more than $100,000, your landlord may demand proof of your COVID-19 related hardship be provided to support your declaration. There are several things you can use to satisfy this requirement, such as a tax return, pay stubs, and a statement from your employer, among other things.
SB 91 also includes the use of federal funds to pay up to 80% of a households' back rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. To qualify for this, the tenant household would need to earn below 80% area median income (AMI). In Marin County, this would equate to the following by household size:
||Annual Income at 80% AMI (updated 04/12/21)
A landlord who accepts funds to cover 80% of the tenants' back rent would need to forgive the remaining 20%. If a landlord does not accept funds, then the maximum assistance they would qualify for is 25%. The remaining 75% of rent will be considered consumer debt, and can be collected by the landlord through small claims court on or after August 1, 2021. Marin County will be opening an online application for rental assistance. Interested tenants and landlords can visit the Rental Assistance web page for more information.
Other Things You Need to Know
- By February 28, 2020, landlords are required to send notification language (additional languages coming soon) about this new law and the availability of rental assistance to all tenants that owe one or more rental payments between March 1, 2020 and February 1, 2021.
- Until July 1, 2021, a landlord can only evict a tenant if they provide a legally valid reason. It is illegal for a landlord to give a tenant a 30 or 60 day eviction notice without a stated reason. This is commonly known as a "no-cause" eviction. The stated reason must match one of the valid reasons allowed by the law, a "just cause" eviction.
- Landlords who do such things as lock tenants out, remove personal property or shut of utility services to evict a tenant, rather than going through the required court process, could faces fines of between $1,000 and $2,500. These penalties are in effect until July 1, 2021.
- If you believe you have been unlawfully evicted or if you need legal advice, you should consult with an attorney. See resources below.
Documents and Resources