California issued a statewide moratorium on residential evictions for renters who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 related economic hardships. The moratorium went into effect on March 27 and is valid through May 31, 2020.
If COVID-19 has impacted your ability to pay all or part of your rent, you should:
- Explain your financial situation to your landlord and relay how much you are able to pay
- Save all financial documents
- Pay as much of your rent as you can
If your landlord is attempting to evict you for not paying rent and you took all of the above steps, contact a local legal aid provider, such as:
The UCSB Legal Resource Center:
Available to currently registered UCSB students. Click here to schedule an online appointment, available Monday through Friday 11am-5pm.
Available to any member of the IV community. Click here to schedule an online appointment, available Tuesdays and Thursdays 11am-5pm.
Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors’ Eviction Moratorium and How It Affects Isla Vista Tenants:
Tenants of unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County (including Isla Vista) who are unable to pay rent for the months of April and May of 2020 cannot be evicted from their homes or places of business if they are experiencing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. In other words, tenants can defer their rent payments for the months of April and May without being subject to eviction.
Tenants must provide proper documentation to their landlords that they are experiencing financial hardships in order to defer rent payments. For example: documentation showing that they are now unemployed as a result of the pandemic, that they are ill with COVID-19, that they are taking care of dependents, etc.
Tenants must provide their request to defer payments and proper documentation of financial hardship to their landlords via a written notice.
Click here to for a sample letter addressed to a landlord to explain inability to pay rent.
No official deadline has been set for deferred payments to be made, rather landlords and tenants will work out a date individually on a case-by-case basis. This deadline must be after May 31st, however (or until the SB County local health proclamation is terminated, whichever occurs sooner).
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU DO NOT OWE ANY RENT PAYMENTS FOR THE MONTHS OF APRIL AND MAY. Rather, this means you can postpone payments until May 31st (or until the SB County health proclamation is terminated) if you are experiencing financial hardships because of COVID-19 without being evicted.
This eviction moratorium is meant to enforce interest-free deferrals of rent payments. Landlords should not be charging interest and tenants need to be in touch with their landlords to work out agreements in writing about not being able to pay and plans for when they can pay. If a landlord thinks they can change interest, it may need to lead to mediation or legal avenues to resolve.
Comparison of Residential Eviction Moratoriums:
STATE OF CALIFORNIA (EXECUTIVE ORDER N-37-20)
Tenant being evicted for nonpayment shall have 60 days to respond to unlawful detainer complaint.
- No writ to evict may be enforced if Tenant meets requirement of this Order
- Requirements to qualify for extension:
- Tenant must be current on rent as of March 27, 2020;
- Tenant notified Landlord in writing no later than 7 days after due date of need to delay full payment;
- Tenant must retain verifiable documentation of inability to pay; and
- Tenant must give documentation to Landlord no later than when paying back-due rent
- Reasons for Inability to Pay: (“including but not limited to”)
- Tenant can’t work because of his COVID-19 case, or caring for household member;
- Layoff, loss of hours, other income reduction b/c of COVID-19 or “related govt response;” or
- Missed work to care for child because of school closure
- Tenant remains liable for rent
- Notice to Pay or Quit may still be issued, unless local jurisdiction implements moratorium or other prohibition against terminating tenancies based on nonpayment of rent.
- Order expires May 31, 2020
COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA, INCLUDING ISLA VISTA (ORDINANCE 44-5)
Temporary prohibition on termination of tenancy and eviction for nonpayment of rent
- Tenant must demonstrate that failure to pay is directly related to impact of Tenant’s finances by COVID-19
- Tenant Notice requirements:
- In writing
- With “documentation or other objectively verifiable means”
- Requirements to qualify:
- Substantial loss of income from:
- Job loss, layoffs, reduction in hours, business closure/reduction in hours;
- Need to miss work to care for kids or family member with the virus; or
- “Other similarly-caused loss of income”
- Or Substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses “related to the pandemic.”
- Substantial loss of income from:
- Tenant is not relieved of obligation to pay rent, and Landlord may continue to seek to recover it
- Exception where govt agency or court orders property to be vacated
- To be “liberally construed to provide broadest possible protections for Tenants”
- Order expires May 31, 2020, unless emergency proclamation is terminated earlier
CITY OF GOLETA (RESOLUTION NO. 20-18)
No eviction for nonpayment if Tenant demonstrates “inability to pay” b/c of COVID-19 Financial Impact
- No 3-day Notice to Pay or eviction if Tenant gives written notice to Landlord and provides documentation of inability to pay.
- Tenant Notice Requirements:
- In writing, including email and text;
- Within 30 days of rent due date;
- Notification of lost income and inability to pay full rent because of Financial Impact; and
- Tenant must provide “documentation” to support the claim
- Financial impacts: (“include but not limited to”)
- Lost income b/c of sickness of tenant or need to care for household member w/ COVID-19;
- Layoffs, loss of hours, other income reduction b/c of business closure or employer impact;
- Compliance w/ “Govt Health Authority” recommendation to stay home, self-quarantine;
- Extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses; or
- Child care needs because of school closures
- Unpaid rent must be paid in full w/in 6 months after expiration of the ordinance
- Order expires on May 17, 2020, unless extended
CITY OF SANTA BARBARA (EMERGENCY ORDINANCE)
Landlord must grant rent deferral upon adequate notice of Significant Negative Change in Income
- Upon receipt of written notice by Landlord, no action to terminate tenancy or evict may be taken
- Causes of Significant Change to Household Financial Condition: (“Including but not limited to”)
- Sick w/ COVID-19 or caring for family or household member with it;
- Layoff, loss or work or other income reduction from business closure or employer impact;
- Order or recommendation from govt authority to stay home, quarantine, self-isolate;
- Extraordinary medical expenses as a result of COVID-19; or
- Child care needs because of school closures
- Tenant Written Notice Requirements:
- In writing, including email;
- Within 20 days after rent is due;
- Statement of Significant Negative Change in household income;
- Tenant must state how much they can pay monthly; and
- Tenant must provide “documentation” establishing Significant Negative change b/c of COVID-19
- Does not relieve the rent obligation
- If Tenant requests, rental agreements which would have ended before May 31 may be extended
- Deferred rent must be paid in full within 6 months after expiration of the ordinance
- If tenant terminates tenancy before deferred rent is paid, it becomes immediately due
- Ordinance expires May 31, 2020, unless extended
For Landlords/Property Owners:
Governor Newsom announced a major financial relief package today for homeowners whose mortgages are held by Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo or nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers. Californians economically impacted by COVID-19 will benefit from a 90 day grace period (30 days for Bank of America customers) to make mortgage payments without fees or having their credit reports impacted. Responding to questions about a statewide eviction moratoria, Governor Newsom explained that his team is reviewing all the legal ramifications of such an order, and he continues to encourage local government officials to review and take action independently. List of financial institutions participating: https://dbo.ca.gov/covid19-updates-fi/
90-day grace period for all mortgage payments: If you are impacted by COVID-19, these financial institutions will offer mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which allow you to reduce or delay your monthly mortgage payment. In addition, they will:
- Give you a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation
- Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program; and
- Provide you the opportunity to extend your forbearance agreement if you continue to experience hardship due to COVID-19.
Relief from fees and charges for 90 days: For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees and other fees including early CD withdrawals.
No new foreclosures for 60 days: Financial institutions will not start any foreclosure sales or evictions.
What if my mortgage servicer is not communicative or cooperative?:
You can file a complaint with the Department of Business Oversight through the complaint form on the DBO website (https://dbo.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/) or by contacting the DBO Consumer Services Office at (866) 275-2677 or (916) 327-7585 via email at Ask.DBO@dbo.ca.gov.
A new federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:
- A foreclosure moratorium
- A right to forbearance for homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency
If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage servicer or from your state.
Mortgage forbearance: Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time. Forbearance doesn’t erase what you owe – you’ll have to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future. If your income is restored, reach out to your servicer and resume making payments as soon as you can.
Depending on the kind of loan you have, there may be different forbearance options. If this option is available to you, read our guide to help you make the best decision based on your situation.
Moratoriums suspend or stop foreclosure: Foreclosure is when the lender takes back the property after the homeowner fails to make required payments on a mortgage. Foreclosure processes differ by state.
Keep reading for specific information on forbearance and moratoriums under the CARES Act.
What options do you qualify for?: Your mortgage relief options depend on who owns or backs your mortgage.
CARES Act Relief Options: If your mortgage is a federally backed mortgage, you have two mortgage relief options under the CARES Act:
First, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale, during this period of time.
Second, if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request one extension for another up to 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac: In addition to the foreclosure moratorium and forbearance, if you are granted forbearance to delay making your monthly payments during this temporary period:
- You won’t incur late fees
- You won’t have delinquencies reported to credit reporting companies
- Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended
- Borrowers with a mortgage not backed by the federal government
- If you have a mortgage loan that is not backed by one of the federal agencies or entities listed above, contact your servicer. The CFPB and other financial regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with borrowers who are or may be unable to meet their obligations because of the effects of COVID-19.
Your servicer should help you identify alternatives that may be available to you given your specific circumstances.