Avoiding an "eviction tsunami"

Jamie Burson looks out the window of her motel room in Farfield on August 4, 2020. Burson has been living between her car and motels since being evicted in April. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Jamie Burson looks out the window of her motel room in Farfield on August 4, 2020. Burson has been living between her car and motels since being evicted in April. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

By Matt Levin

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

AB 3088 would give renters financially impacted by COVID-19 a reprieve from eviction until February 2021. In order to avoid being evicted in February, renters would have to come up with 25% of the rent they owe from September through January. Landlords could collect all missed rent payments — including the remaining 75% — in small claims court starting March 2021.

WHO SUPPORTS IT? 

Define “support”. Tenant groups wanted all evictions stopped, including cases unrelated to financial hardship from the virus. Landlords originally wanted some type of compensation for missed rent. But tenants, landlords and banking groups all signed off on the deal, calling it a necessity to prevent catastrophe. 

WHO’S OPPOSED?

See “support” section. 

WHY IT MATTERS

Housing experts warn California faces a looming eviction cliff. Nearly one million California renter households experienced a job loss since the pandemic struck, making them especially vulnerable to eviction. Small landlords suffering from missed rent payments are struggling to make mortgage payments, property taxes and other bills. Public health experts warn evictions could lead to unsafe, overcrowded housing situations where the coronavirus thrives. 

GOVERNOR’S CALL

Newsom, who had made a deal with lawmakers in the final days of the session, signed the bill into law about an hour after it cleared the Legislature on its final night.