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Santa Clara County extends eviction moratorium through September

County 'buying time' in hopes of state, federal aid for struggling renters affected by coronavirus pandemic

Renters in Santa Clara County will be protected from evictions due to nonpayment of rent through at least Sept. 30. Photo by Magali Gauthier

Facing the threat of mass displacement, Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to extend a ban on evictions for nonpayment of rent due to the coronavirus pandemic through the end of September.

The moratorium has been extended twice since it went into effect in March, and prohibits landlords from ousting tenants that fall behind on rent -- provided they show proof that COVID-19 has led to a loss of income. Tenant advocates say the moratorium has staved off a spike in homelessness after an estimated 200,000 residents in the county filed new claims for unemployment benefits from March through May.

The moratorium covers commercial and residential tenants, and will stay in effect until the end of Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order granting cities and counties broad discretion to impose eviction protections. The order is currently set to expire after Sept. 30, but has been extended multiple times. The county's moratorium would expire on Nov. 30 in the event that the executive order extends into December.

The extension comes weeks after a recent report found an estimated 43,490 renter households in Santa Clara County could be displaced if the moratorium were to prematurely end. Many vulnerable residents are still out of work, the report warns, and federal unemployment benefits to keep families afloat expired on Aug. 1. One analysis suggested 17.6% of those at-risk households could end up homeless, abruptly skyrocketing the county's homeless population from 9,706 individuals to 21,813.

The moratorium is a temporary way to buy time for tenants to tap into rent relief funds and stay housed, said Mitch Mankin, policy and advocacy associate for the nonprofit [email protected] Tenants are still required under the ordinance to pay back unpaid rent within a year of the expiration of the moratorium, with half of all unpaid rent due six months after the expiration. California's Legislature is still hammering out the details on a rent relief bill, Mankin said, but it will take time to reach families behind on rent.

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"We owe it to the most vulnerable in our county to protect them from ending up on the street before help arrives," Mankin said.

More than a dozen physicians representing the Stanford-O'Connor Family Medicine Residency sent a letter urging supervisors to extend the moratorium to 90 days after the end of the state of emergency. The letter warns that lifting the moratorium early "invites disaster" for Santa Clara County families, particularly vulnerable low-income and minority communities that have been hardest hit by the virus.

"Evictions would cause disproportionate economic devastation and spread of COVID-19 in an already particularly vulnerable community," the letter states.

The most recent extension by supervisors on Aug. 25 is also the most important. The California Judicial Council had previously put a complete statewide halt to unlawful detainer proceedings that would have prevented displacement even if the moratorium expired. But the council voted 19-1 earlier this month to let that rule expire on Sept. 2, stripping away the extra protection and allowing evictions proceedings to start again.

In making the vote, the judicial council made clear that it's the role of state and federal lawmakers, not the courts, to address the concerns over displacement. AB 1436, proposed by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would enact a statewide moratorium until 90 days after the state's COVID-19 emergency declaration.

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Supervisor Joe Simitian said he supported the extension of the ban on evictions, but that the county is really waiting on a more holistic approach from the state.

"This is an opportunity for us to buy time and protect people to some degree while they're still in place," Simitian said. "But we really need our state and federal legislatures to step up and give us something more in the way of addressing the mortgage forbearance and rent forgiveness issues."

Individual cities within Santa Clara County have also passed similar eviction protections to stave off displacement and homelessness during the pandemic. The Mountain View City Council voted unanimously Aug. 25 to extend its eviction moratorium until Nov. 30 or the expiration of the city's emergency declaration, whichever is later.

The city has also poured more than $2.7 million into its rent relief fund, supporting thousands of residents who have suffered a loss of household income due to COVID-19. Rental assistance checks through the city's program have averaged $2,190, and more than 325 households have received multiple checks to pay for months of back rent.

Councilman Lucas Ramirez said he felt the moratorium really only works when paired with a well-funded rent relief program that can help tenants dig their way out of debt, which avoids pushing the problem out to a later date.

"If there isn't a rent relief program sort of working alongside the eviction moratorium, then not only are tenants incurring rent debt that they will struggle to pay back later but there are many landlords that aren't bringing in any income at all," Ramirez said.

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Santa Clara County extends eviction moratorium through September

County 'buying time' in hopes of state, federal aid for struggling renters affected by coronavirus pandemic

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Aug 26, 2020, 9:18 am

Facing the threat of mass displacement, Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to extend a ban on evictions for nonpayment of rent due to the coronavirus pandemic through the end of September.

The moratorium has been extended twice since it went into effect in March, and prohibits landlords from ousting tenants that fall behind on rent -- provided they show proof that COVID-19 has led to a loss of income. Tenant advocates say the moratorium has staved off a spike in homelessness after an estimated 200,000 residents in the county filed new claims for unemployment benefits from March through May.

The moratorium covers commercial and residential tenants, and will stay in effect until the end of Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order granting cities and counties broad discretion to impose eviction protections. The order is currently set to expire after Sept. 30, but has been extended multiple times. The county's moratorium would expire on Nov. 30 in the event that the executive order extends into December.

The extension comes weeks after a recent report found an estimated 43,490 renter households in Santa Clara County could be displaced if the moratorium were to prematurely end. Many vulnerable residents are still out of work, the report warns, and federal unemployment benefits to keep families afloat expired on Aug. 1. One analysis suggested 17.6% of those at-risk households could end up homeless, abruptly skyrocketing the county's homeless population from 9,706 individuals to 21,813.

The moratorium is a temporary way to buy time for tenants to tap into rent relief funds and stay housed, said Mitch Mankin, policy and advocacy associate for the nonprofit [email protected] Tenants are still required under the ordinance to pay back unpaid rent within a year of the expiration of the moratorium, with half of all unpaid rent due six months after the expiration. California's Legislature is still hammering out the details on a rent relief bill, Mankin said, but it will take time to reach families behind on rent.

"We owe it to the most vulnerable in our county to protect them from ending up on the street before help arrives," Mankin said.

More than a dozen physicians representing the Stanford-O'Connor Family Medicine Residency sent a letter urging supervisors to extend the moratorium to 90 days after the end of the state of emergency. The letter warns that lifting the moratorium early "invites disaster" for Santa Clara County families, particularly vulnerable low-income and minority communities that have been hardest hit by the virus.

"Evictions would cause disproportionate economic devastation and spread of COVID-19 in an already particularly vulnerable community," the letter states.

The most recent extension by supervisors on Aug. 25 is also the most important. The California Judicial Council had previously put a complete statewide halt to unlawful detainer proceedings that would have prevented displacement even if the moratorium expired. But the council voted 19-1 earlier this month to let that rule expire on Sept. 2, stripping away the extra protection and allowing evictions proceedings to start again.

In making the vote, the judicial council made clear that it's the role of state and federal lawmakers, not the courts, to address the concerns over displacement. AB 1436, proposed by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would enact a statewide moratorium until 90 days after the state's COVID-19 emergency declaration.

Supervisor Joe Simitian said he supported the extension of the ban on evictions, but that the county is really waiting on a more holistic approach from the state.

"This is an opportunity for us to buy time and protect people to some degree while they're still in place," Simitian said. "But we really need our state and federal legislatures to step up and give us something more in the way of addressing the mortgage forbearance and rent forgiveness issues."

Individual cities within Santa Clara County have also passed similar eviction protections to stave off displacement and homelessness during the pandemic. The Mountain View City Council voted unanimously Aug. 25 to extend its eviction moratorium until Nov. 30 or the expiration of the city's emergency declaration, whichever is later.

The city has also poured more than $2.7 million into its rent relief fund, supporting thousands of residents who have suffered a loss of household income due to COVID-19. Rental assistance checks through the city's program have averaged $2,190, and more than 325 households have received multiple checks to pay for months of back rent.

Councilman Lucas Ramirez said he felt the moratorium really only works when paired with a well-funded rent relief program that can help tenants dig their way out of debt, which avoids pushing the problem out to a later date.

"If there isn't a rent relief program sort of working alongside the eviction moratorium, then not only are tenants incurring rent debt that they will struggle to pay back later but there are many landlords that aren't bringing in any income at all," Ramirez said.

Comments

Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 26, 2020 at 11:57 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 11:57 am
4 people like this

Eviction lawsuits will again be filed and pursued starting in early September. For renters who claim. - as to September rent -that they have suffered "substantial" loss of income or expenses due to the pandemic, timely paperwork will be required and the courts will be determining what, for example, "substantial" means. For renters who really are broke, how will they find a lawyer to help them understand and protect their "rights" created by interim legislation and the best options available? I raised the issue in writing the MV City Council and the county Board of Supervisors - to no avail.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2020 at 12:09 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 12:09 pm
Like this comment

Gary,

The LANDLORDS bear the burden of proof to prove tat the tenants are NOT impacted by COVID, isn't that correct?

So all one needs to do is present any proof of unemployment of earnings drop offs to qualify.

The Courts will not process any evictions without said proof, isn't that correct?

I think you forgot that part. The landlords do not have an assumption to be entitled to a lawful detainer action.

As long as the tenants filed their forms for the eviction moratorium with any city, the landlords are in fact trapped. The key thing is that all tenants should get a copy of the rent non-payment forms sent to them by mail from the City. Then they should send a copy to their landlord via Certified mail.

Because of the unemployment insurance shrink, I did this in the beginning of August, I have a signed green card proving delivery. Once this is done, the landlords cannot move forward, and you know this.

The city should send a copy of the forms to all tenants right now, so they can be properly served to their landlords, thus shielding them from eviction processes.

Maybe you din't understand this?


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 26, 2020 at 1:05 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 1:05 pm
5 people like this

Steven, The ordinances (county and city) place the burden of proof as to "substantial" loss of income or medical expenses on the side that knows: the renter. It is possible to sue a landlord who proceeds to an eviction case (in bad faith, for example) but such a lawsuit would not delay the eviction case. And the outcome in the eviction case could entirely undermine the civil suit filed on behalf of the renter. So if the Legislature and Governor (or county or city legislative bodies) do not create any new rules, eviction cases will be filed and pursued left and right. The rules and definitions will be determined by courts in each county trying to handle the thousands of cases. Some renters may choose to negotiate their departure - maybe with the help of non-lawyer housing counselors - but they will be exploited. If a renter does not have a lawyer against a landlord with an able lawyer, the renter will have little leverage.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2020 at 1:35 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 1:35 pm
Like this comment

In response to Gary you said:

“Steven, The ordinances (county and city) place the burden of proof as to "substantial" loss of income or medical expenses on the side that knows: the renter. It is possible to sue a landlord who proceeds to an eviction case (in bad faith, for example) but such a lawsuit would not delay the eviction case.”

WOW I never thought about this. But again, will a court proceed when there is not evidence presented by a landlord that the tenant is NOT impacted by COVID? The Judicial ruling didn’t state that this was not a consideration. So I would expect the courts will require it to move forward. You went on to say:

“And the outcome in the eviction case could entirely undermine the civil suit filed on behalf of the renter. So if the Legislature and Governor (or county or city legislative bodies) do not create any new rules, eviction cases will be filed and pursued left and right.”

What I think you’re really getting at is that these attorneys that have been on hold since the SJC and other moratoriums are desperate to act in any way to earn their living. Even if they are filing frivolous eviction claims. I strongly urge the City to get a record of all tenants that filed for the City moratorium to establish a third party proof of services. The fact is this is going to be a frenzy because the attorneys are desperate to collect their legal fees. You said:

“The rules and definitions will be determined by courts in each county trying to handle the thousands of cases. Some renters may choose to negotiate their departure - maybe with the help of non-lawyer housing counselors - but they will be exploited. If a renter does not have a lawyer against a landlord with an able lawyer, the renter will have little leverage.”

This in my view sounds like and advertisement for lawyers to sell their services. I believe you actually claimed you are an attorney. This is almost sounding like your trying to coerce the public into thinking that if they don’t have an attorney their due process rights are not going to happen. You know that is not true.

By the way the3 City moratorioum says this:”

“Section 2. This urgency ordinance shall remain in effect through September 30, 2020, or any later expiration date of County of Santa Clara Ordinance No. NS-9.287. If the County of Santa Clara does not extend Ordinance No. NS-9287 beyond September 30, 2020, THIS ORDINANCE SHALL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL THE TERMINATION OF THE CITY’S LOCAL EMERGENCY DECLARED ON MARCH 12, 2020. A suspension of evictions for nonpayment of rent by residential tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is imposed as follows:”

This would appear on its face that this is an indefinite eviction moratorium until the city Council pulls the state of emergency order. I am understanding that this will put a lot of strain on the landlords, and they are going to do anything to intimidate the city from using this right. As a matter of fact I think you are trying to achieve this.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 26, 2020 at 1:53 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 1:53 pm
2 people like this

Renters that are broke do not have money to hire a lawyer. As to what the City Attorney presented and the City Council adopted last night, the September 30 date was replaced with November 30 - according to the article. That turned out to be important because the county will not again extend "Ordinance No 9287" because (1) that was not the number of the county ordinance to be extended and (2) that is not the number of the ordinance adopted yesterday by the county board of supervisors. But it could be that the last sentence the City Attorney added on August 22 to his proposed section 2 will preserve the city ordinance beyond the date inserted. That is what the City Attorney told the City Council last night. Landlord lawyers will argue otherwise if it is important in a case.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2020 at 2:26 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 2:26 pm
Like this comment

In response to Gary you said:

“Renters that are broke do not have money to hire a lawyer. As to what the City Attorney presented and the City Council adopted last night, the September 30 date was replaced with November 30 - according to the article.”

I am not discussing the article but the order adopted by the City of Mountain View, and also the City of San Jose did the same thing. So you go on to say:

“That turned out to be important because the county will not again extend "Ordinance No 9287" because (1) that was not the number of the county ordinance to be extended and (2) that is not the number of the ordinance adopted yesterday by the county board of supervisors.”

Given that the City can claim its own police powers, the City just went better than the County and it appears that this is an unfortunate truth for landlords in Mountain View. The City Council adopted the ordinance written by the City last night if you listen carefully. The courts will have to adopt the City ordinance for any tenants in Mountain View, and the same for San Jose. You went on to say:

“But it could be that the last sentence the City Attorney added on August 22 to his proposed section 2 will preserve the city ordinance beyond the date inserted. That is what the City Attorney told the City Council last night. Landlord lawyers will argue otherwise if it is important in a case.”

They can “argue” all they want, but the ordinance is written the way it is. The Courts cannot override the ordinance unless it is being challenged for being unconstitutional. But given that the City is not TAKING the property, the tenants are, there is no TAKINGS case here. You know that only when the GOVERNMENT takes a property are they subject to a TAKINGS complaint. And many websites I have seen say that under the states of emergency, in effect the takings claims are temporarily suspended until the state of emergency id lifted.

Unfortunately there is another delay in the state Senate due to COVID, I hope they will get their act together and pass AB 1436 ASAP.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 26, 2020 at 3:48 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 3:48 pm
4 people like this

As I stated on the other thread, some people - including many politicians - like to pontificate but have trouble listening or accepting advice.


Mom and pop landlord
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Aug 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm
Mom and pop landlord, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm
11 people like this

Steven
I think I understand your takings comment but I’m not a lawyer. By the eviction moratorium and non-processing of unlawful detainers, isn’t the landlord still being taken from? The tenant may be doing the taking, but the government is holding the gun and driving the getaway car, no?


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2020 at 5:08 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 5:08 pm
Like this comment

I hate to say this but your analogy is not correct. And in fact the reality is that the kind of “property rights” you believe in don’t actually exist. Property in this case can simply be taken away if you don’t pay your property taxes or are liable to others for costs that you cannot pay.

Under the case called Kelo v. New London, the U.S. Supreme court said exactly what I am describing:

“Majority and concurring

On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, ruled in favor of the City of New London. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion setting out a more detailed standard for judicial review of economic development takings than that found in Stevens's majority opinion. In so doing, Justice Kennedy contributed to the Court's trend of turning minimum scrutiny—the idea that government policy need only bear a rational relation to a legitimate government purpose—into a fact-based test.[citation needed]”

So under these circumstances given COVID and other factors, there is no taking occurring here. In fact any court order or other decision regarding confiscation from one party to another is quite common in the government.

Also there is no Eminent Domain occurring were the government does in fact hand over private property from one personal person to another. You can read this information:

“Eminent domain in the United States

Most states use the term eminent domain, but some U.S. states use the term appropriation (New York) or expropriation (Louisiana) as synonyms for the exercise of eminent domain powers.[8][9] The term condemnation is used to describe the formal act of exercising this power to transfer title or some lesser interest in the subject property.

The constitutionally required "just compensation" in partial takings is usually measured by fair market value of the part taken, plus severance damages (the diminution in value of the property retained by the owner [remainder] when only a part of the subject property is taken). Where a partial taking provides economic benefits specific to the remainder, those must be deducted, typically from severance damages.[10] The former owners of the property will rarely receive full market value because some elements of value are deemed noncompensable in eminent domain law.[citation needed]

The practice of condemnation came to the American colonies with the common law. When it came time to draft the United States Constitution, differing views on eminent domain were voiced. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution requires that the taking be for a "public use" and mandates payment of "just compensation" to the owner.[11]

In federal law, Congress can take private property directly (without recourse to the courts) by passing an Act transferring title of the subject property directly to the government. In such cases, the property owner seeking compensation must sue the United States for compensation in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The legislature may also delegate the power to private entities like public utilities or railroads, and even to individuals.[12] The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently deferred to the right of states to make their own determinations of "public use".”

Eminent Domain is not occurring under the law, that if the Government does not take possession, the government did not TAKE anything. And there is enough justification so that the courts cannot state there is not a rational relationship regarding a legitimate governmental interest.

So yes the laws and the constitution provide these powers, and your claim that the government is committing a crime. Under these circumstances I would strongly urge the state or the federal government to provide life support in this case.




Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 27, 2020 at 2:52 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 2:52 pm
Like this comment

It looks like last week the state of California lost another at least 175,000 jobs.

When we finally get COVID under control and the jobs come back, we better learn the lessons of this disaster.

Landlords should never gamble with money they don't have to purchase properties unless they have sufficient insurance to protect them from a situation like this.

But, after this situation, I wonder what insurance companies will still provide such a policy without a large insurance cost.

Talking about the perfect disaster for this housing market.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm
Like this comment

Well,

It looks like the state will extend the eviction protection contingent on 25% of rent to be paid till the end of the year.

That sounds reasonable, Given that the majority of the evictions would have targeted the unemployed due to COVID and the landlords KNOW it.

That means the County order and the City order will now be extended as well.

Given my rent is about $1600, but I am receiving $450 a week in unemployment, that sounds reasonable for me. But I am concerned that most unemployed may not get my rate of benefit.

And the $300 enhancement is not provided for those receiving less than $100 a week for unemployment.

Thus there will be issues that will be needed to be worked on further. The reality is that the jobs picture is going to take years to recover.




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