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Tenant Rights Groups Bracing for Flood of Questions Around New State Law
by Posted by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Friday Sep 4th, 2020 3:08 PM
Eviction Protections During The Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic
sm_49534865371_7219ecfbcd_k__1_.jpg
Posted By Lynda Carson:

For Immediate Release

Received from Causa Justa/Just Cause on September 4, 2020


TENANT RIGHTS GROUPS BRACING FOR FLOOD OF QUESTIONS AROUND NEW STATE LAW

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco tenant counseling organizations are launching a citywide campaign to inform residents about major changes in laws limiting evictions of tenants impacted by the pandemic for October.

“Tenants need to know they still have protections against evictions and shouldn’t move out of their homes just because they lost work and can’t pay during COVID,” said Sarah Sherburn Zimmer, director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, “but they need to be prepared to respond to the new notices they may receive to be able stay..”

On Monday, Sacramento legislators approved AB3088 that replaces key parts of the network of state and local eviction moratoriums that have halted almost all evictions across the state for the past six months. The legislation, which was adopted in coordination with changes in court rules, will enable landlords to restart the eviction process as early as this week but under a new set of requirements.

“When it is fully implemented thousands of San Francisco tenants could be impacted by the changes in the law,” said Sherburn-Zimmer. “But if tenants know their rights and get the counsel they need and work with their neighbors this does not need to turn into a flood of evictions in the middle of this pandemic – at least at the present time.”

As advocates prepare widespread community education campaigns to ensure that as many people as possible understand how to access the new protections, they are also planning for the spring. “These partial protections give us time to do more organizing” said Leticia Arce, Lead Organizer at Causa Justa :: Just Cause. “We will continue to fight for real, long-term solutions to this crisis, including real rent relief and debt cancellation because we are here to stay.”

The most significant change in San Francisco will be to replace a key part of the city’s local moratorium on evictions with a more complicated process for tenants who are not able to pay their rent.

Beginning in October, tenants who do not meet the state law’s technical requirements for deferring payment of rent may ultimately result in tenants being evicted even if they were eligible for relief because of a lost job or other hardship such as COVID19 medical expenses.

“We are here ready to help tenants to complete the necessary paperwork to qualify for an extension of time to pay rent or to apply for rental assistance,” said Donna Chan, Senior Community Organizing Manager at Chinatown Community Development Center. “We are particularly concerned that notices will not be translated. No one should be intimidated into moving or giving up their rights without being able to access the assistance they are entitled to.”

Other parts of San Francisco’s moratorium on other evictions may continue but they must be renewed by action by either the Mayor or the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks.

“The state legislation fell far short of what is needed,” said Scott Weaver of the San Francisco Tenants Union. “We must do everything we can do locally to fill in the gaps until tenants get the full protection they need to survive this truly life threatening crisis.”

More information about the changing rules on evictions or to get help see: http://www.sfadc.org

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