What San José residents need to know about ending the moratorium on evictions
With just three days remaining, thousands of Santa Clara County tenants are still awaiting eviction assistance, and they are the ones who made the request.
On Monday, 7,721 households in the county filed for rent relief with the California Housing is Key program, which provides financial assistance to people who cannot pay rent due to hardship related to COVID-19. About 3,153 households received financial assistance, or about 40% of all applications, with more than $ 42 million disbursed in total. More than $ 106 million in funds have been requested.
It has become an urgent issue as the ban on pandemic-related evictions ends on Thursday.
For any resident of Santa Clara County who is in rental debt and fears eviction, there is one thing they should do immediately:
“Apply for rental assistance as soon as possible,” said Nassim Moallem, lawyer with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. “Make sure you know your rights and make sure they are being exercised. “
What you need to know for October 1
As of Friday, tenants who have to repay rent must pay at least 25% of the rent they owe from September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. Tenants are still responsible for unpaid rent, but cannot be evicted if they are due. they reach that threshold. Starting November 1, however, homeowners can try to collect this debt through small claims court.
Even though tenants are unable to pay 25% of the rent owed, they still cannot be immediately evicted. If the landlord serves a notice of rent due between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, tenants can give their landlord a signed statement of Financial distress related to COVID-19 within 15 working days. Upon receipt of this declaration, landlords must seek assistance under the rent relief program before they can sue for eviction.
Tenants who apply to the program within 15 days of receiving an eviction notice, or receive a notice from the program that their application is pending, are protected from eviction as long as the request is made. is pending.
A recent memo from the city estimates that 12,800 San Jose households are in arrears with rent, with an average rent debt of $ 4,600. Recent data suggests that approximately 39,000 households in Santa Clara County are in arrears with rent in August.
“A really chaotic situation”
The best way for tenants to protect themselves from a possible eviction is to apply for rent assistance, said Jeff Scott, spokesperson for the San Jose Housing Department.
“Qualified renters can get up to 100% of their rent paid through this program,” Scott told San José Spotlight. “Vulnerable tenants shouldn’t wait.
Shanti Singh, Director of Communications and Legislation for Tenants together, said it was frustrating that California had not followed New York’s lead, which extended its moratorium until January. She stressed that rent assistance is the best way for indebted tenants to avoid eviction.
“Part of the reason we’ve told everyone to ask for rent relief ASAP is that there are protections you have while you’re in the system. There are still protections there, but it’s going to be a really chaotic situation, ”Singh told the San José Spotlight.
California passed its moratorium on evictions last year and extended it until September 30 earlier this summer. A rent relief program injected tens of millions of dollars into cities and counties across the state, but sparked complaints about the slow distribution of funds.
Gregory Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, told the San José Spotlight that his team regularly holds rental assistance pop-up events throughout the city and county, and distributes flyers during distributions. food. He said rental applications through the public program have become much more streamlined and more manageable for applicants.
“The processing time (of requests) has decreased considerably,” he said.
The end of the moratorium makes people anxious, he added, but the silver lining is that there is still money available for aid.
“There are still resources for landlords and tenants,” Kepferle said. “There’s a lot in the pipeline that’s flowing, and there’s a lot more available. All people have to do is show that they have made an attempt so that they can make the 25% (rent payment).
Where to get help
Santa Clara County and San Jose previously offered local rent relief using a mix of federal funds and private dollars raised by Destination: Home. To date, the county has received 5,330 applications under this program, of which 2,452 have received financial assistance totaling $ 24.7 million. That option no longer exists, said David Low, spokesperson for Destination: Home. All applicants must apply for state aid, he said.
Huascar Castro, associate director of housing and transportation policy at Working Partnerships USA, urges tenants to complete their application to the state program if they haven’t already done so.
“Complete your rental assistance program application,” he told the San José Spotlight. “Don’t just start them, finish them”.
Renters in Santa Clara County who wish to apply for rent assistance can contact the statewide Rent Relief Program by calling (833) 430-2122 or visiting the website. HousingIsKey.com to start an application. The site also includes a FAQ section that answers common questions about applying for rent relief.
Tenants who ask for help can find help at two deportation assistance centers in San José. One is located at San Jose City Hall on the 12th floor and the other center is located in the Franklin McKinley School District at 645 Wool Creek Drive in San Jose.
Renters and landlords can also contact the Housing Department for more information by calling (408) 975-4444 or sending an email [email protected]
Consuelo Hernandez, director of the Santa Clara County Supportive Services Housing Office, told San José Spotlight that the county is co-hosting an information event about COVID-19 emergency rental assistance Wednesday at Morgan Hill.
Tenants can also contact the Silicon Valley Legal Foundation if they receive an eviction notice at (408) 280-2424.
Contact Eli Wolfe at [email protected] Where @ EliWolfe4 on Twitter.