SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — For over a year, the coronavirus pandemic has brought on many burdens.
One of those burdens has left people having to figure out how to pay for their rent as jobs and industries slowed down.
Despite eviction moratoriums extending, there are many who are still anxious about their future.
“I think one of the most important things that we want everyone to know is that even though we are using the term eviction moratorium, evictions are still happening” said Caryn Hreha, staff attorney at Law Foundation at Silicon Valley.
In San Jose, the Housing Department estimates approximately 27,000 households are behind rent since the pandemic began.
Attorneys for the Law Foundation at Silicon Valley are advising tenants to follow the three “S” rules: to stay in your home, submit a declaration and seek rental assistance as soon as possible.
“We have had additional tenant protections since August of 2020, all of those protections have been extended through September 30, 2021,” said Hreha. “And there are new protections that have been added for the time period after that, so from October 1st, 2021 through now March 31st, of 2022.”
Still, there are many tenants who fear eviction.
Hreha says before a landlord can evict someone, they must submit a 15-day notice informing the tenant they need to pay their rent or submit a declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress.
“That’s just for people who have been unable to pay their rent because of COVID-19, there are also protections in place for all tenants, ” said Hreha. “The landlord has to have a good legal reason to evict people right now and that’s also been extended through September 30th, 2021.”
Thanks to the eviction moratorium, tenants filing a declaration between March 1 and Aug. 31, 2020 did not have to pay rent.
One key difference for those who are seeking rental assistance now is the requirement of paying 25% of the total rent that is owed between Sept. 1, 2020, and Sept. 20, 2021.
“However we really are encouraging people to sign up for that state rent assistance now because that 25% is going to be covered by the state rental assistance which is going to be actually reimbursing landlords for 100% of rent owed,” said Hreha.
“From September of 2021 tenants are able to apply for 18 months each [of rental assistance].”
Santa Clara County residents seeking rental assistance can visit the county’s Office of Supportive Housing website for more information.