Tenants, Know Your Rights During COVID-19

Dillon Savory / April 9, 2020 /

As our community battles COVID-19, it is imperative to know your rights as renters and homeowners. Our friends at the Leadership Counsel have been thorough with their research, so now you must be diligent in your documentation should you require protection.

Here’s some quick background. Last month, government officials at the local, state, and the federal level instituted measures to help prevent evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic. On Monday, the California Judicial Council issued emergency orders that stop lenders’ efforts to foreclosure on mortgages and landlords’ ability to evict tenants — except in cases where public health or safety are involved.

Ultimately, the responsibility for your protection lies with the residents. The best way to protect yourself is to pay rent on time if you are able to do so. If you are unable to pay rent, follow the steps detailed below.

On March 27, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order granting resident protections, which are detailed below.

The City of Fresno has issued an emergency order to protect its residents during the pandemic. The Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability has created the step-by-step guide below to prevent evictions and foreclosures caused by COVID-19. For any concerns or issues on housing, residents can dial 3-1-1 for more information, or reach out to the Leadership Counsel of Justice and Accountability at 559-369-2790.

A Federal Moratorium on certain evictions began on March 27, 2020 and will remain in force through July 25, 2020.

Landlords of covered properties are prohibited by federal law from filing a new eviction case for failure to pay rent during this period. They are also prohibited from charging you fees or interest late payment during this period. After July 25th, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings for non-payment but must give 30 days notice. This doesn’t forgive the rent you may owe.

You are protected if you live in a covered property, which include, but are not limited to:

  • properties with federally backed mortgages (FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, VA, HUD, USDA)*
  • properties receiving low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC)**
  • public housing
  • section 8 (vouchers and project-based units)
  • properties providing housing for the elderly, people with disabilities, homeless and people with AIDS with support from various federal programs.
  • USDA and rural housing program under the Department of Agriculture, including non-housing vouchers
    • *If you are unsure if your landlord has a federally backed mortgage, ask them to provide you with that information. If they are unsure who backs their mortgage, their mortgage servicer is required to provide them with that information.
    • ** You can check if your home is covered under Low Income Housing Tax Credits here: https://preservationdatabase.org/

You will not qualify for protection under this federal law if:

  • the eviction case was filed in court on or before March 26, 2020
  • the eviction case is based on breaking a rule in your rental agreement (other than payments)
  • your property isn’t covered by the law

Con el pago de la renta aproximándose para millones de californianos, el mosaico de protecciones puede ser confuso. Oprima aquí para una descripción general de las diversas protecciones vigentes al nivel federal. Si tienes problemas pagando la renta, consulta con tu dueño preparado con esta información.

Click here for a comprehensive list of state resources for COVID-19.