Oakland eviction moratorium will end July 15
on April 21, 2023
Oakland’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium is set to expire on July 15, the council decided Tuesday, passing an ordinance that also will add permanent tenant protections to address housing instability in the city.
The City Council voted 7-1 for the ordinance, which will sunset the moratorium that prohibited landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent. Authored by Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas and Council President Pro Tempore Dan Kalb, the ordinance adds new and permanent protections to keep evictions from escalating.
The ordinance will get a second reading and a final vote on May 2 before it becomes law.
Most tenants who addressed the council opposed the end of the moratorium. They voiced concerns about an increase in evictions that could result.
“We do not want the moratorium to be eliminated,” resident Marina Muñoz said. “This will leave us without protections, especially immigrants and families with low incomes.”
But Bas noted, “The eviction moratorium was always supposed to be temporary.”
Noel Gallo, who cast the sole no vote, wanted the moratorium to expire sooner, on May 31.
Many landlords did, too, saying they were owed thousands of dollars from tenants who had no hardship.
“Oakland should do the right thing — end the eviction moratorium and stop this crusade against hard-working housing providers who are just trying to support the community and offer quality homes for local residents,” Joshua Howard, executive vice president of the California Apartment Association said before the meeting.
The council passed the initial moratorium in March 2020, to promote housing stability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with preventing the spread of the coronavirus, it also acted as a support system for tenants who were in financial distress due to the loss of jobs or businesses. Some of the moratorium’s measures provided emergency rental assistance, legal services and mortgage relief.
With vaccines available and a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases, Alameda County has set its moratorium to expire on April 29. The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program that paid eligible tenants’ past due rent ended March 31.
The Oakland City Council reviewed an ordinance at its meeting last Friday that proposed to phase out. As
The ordinance was then amended by Bas and Kalb keeping in mind the safety and protection of tenants. When voted on at Tuesday’s Council meeting, it won with a majority of seven votes saying yes to adopt the legislation and one no from councilmember Noel Gallo, who wanted the moratorium to end by May 31. Now, the expiration date is extended to last through July 14.
The ordinance includes added measures to keep tenants from being evicted on baseless means or being exploited by landlords. It prohibits a property owner from terminating a tenancy without good or just cause, such as using the property for illegal purposes and causing substantial damages to the premise, among other reasons.
Under this revised version, tenants will still be protected from evictions due to non-payment of rent that took place between March 9, 2020, and July 14, 2023, as a result of financial hardship during the pandemic. In cases of breach of lease, the landlord must prove the breach is based on terms the tenants accepted in writing.
A number of tenant advocates have defended cases where people received eviction notices for a due amount of as little as $12. To prevent situations like these, newly added protections specify that a tenant cannot be evicted for owing less than one month of fair market rent, as specified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We’re working on all cylinders to prevent evictions, prevent homelessness and do what the city has not done well enough over the past period, which is really focus on deeply affordable housing,” Bas said.
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