SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – “Anyone who has lost income and no longer able to pay rent, we want to do everything we can to help them,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said. 

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo last month announced and the city council agreed to place a temporary moratorium on the eviction of residents who can’t pay their rent because of lost wages due to the coronavirus. 

Now, the moratorium has been extended to May 31. 

“We know the moratorium on evictions is helping because thousands of families are really hanging on by a thread right now and we are buying them time and keeping them in their homes,” Liccardo said. 

The city council is also considering a plan to freeze the rent for the rest of the year for thousands of rental units across town but landlords remind the city they too have bills to pay, says the California Apartment Association’s Joshua Howard.

“The real issue that is not being talked about is, what about these owners who are going without rent and could be going without rent for many months while their tenants are looking for a new job or recovering from the virus and that is where the government needs to step in and provide mortgage relief for owners to help them pay their bills,” Howard said. 

If approved, the emergency ordinance would temporarily freeze rents on about 39,000 rent-stabilized apartments and mobile homes built before 1979. 

Single family homes and most newer apartments are exempt.

“We know a lot of residents are going to have to pay and we want to see how we can reduce that burden hopefully through negotiated outcomes that will forgive some of that back rent and allow for payment of the remainder over time,” Liccardo said.

Smaller, so-called mom and pop landlords say rent increases are needed to pay their mortgages. 

Advocates say landlords are willing to go along with the city to a point but are calling for some flexibility, says Howard.

“Any renter who is having a tough time needs to contact their landlord and work out a solution that can benefit the renter and the property owner. It’s important that when an agreement is reached there are reasonable time frames for the rent to be repaid,” Howard said.

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