California Covid Relief for Tenants

What are the Rules Regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) Relief for California Renters?

The state of California has passed various rent relief programs and laws to protect tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic. Most recent is the Tenant Relief Act – SB91, which created the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. These rules modify the standard rules for tenants, which you can find at our Guide to Laws for Tenants in California. The existing rules still apply unless they are specifically modified by the Covid emergency rules.

Is rent cancelled?

Not exactly, but the state of California will create a new subsidy program for low-income people to secure funding for unpaid rent incurred from April 2020 through March 2021. This money would go directly to landlords, who would receive 80% of the amount due, as long as they agree to forgive the remaining 20% and to not evict the tenant.

If the landlord does not agree to forgive the 20% of unpaid rent, they can only get funding for 25% of the rent. Through June 30, 2021, tenants cannot be evicted if at least 25% of the rent is paid.

Beginning in March 2021, tenants may apply to the state’s emergency rental assistance program through the Housing is Key website.

Who qualifies for the Rental Assistance Program?

The program is available for households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, with a priority on helping households at or below 50 percent of Area Median Income as well as households unemployed for the preceding 90 days at the time of application.

What are the rules on eviction?

Through June 30, 2021, all renters in California who cannot pay their full rent due to circumstances related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are protected from eviction. Landlords may not evict for non-payment of rent for these reasons at this time, as long as renters pay at least 25% of the rent. This can be paid monthly, or in lump sums by June 30. This is known as the temporary eviction moratorium.

Landlords may still proceed with certain other types of “just cause” evictions unrelated to a tenant’s failure to pay rent.

Who qualifies for eviction protection?

Eviction protection is available to any tenant who timely attests under penalty of perjury that they have not been able to pay full rent due to COVID-19-related circumstances.

Are landlords allowed to charge late fees?

Landlords may not charge late fees for nonpayment of rent between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 to tenants who have attested they are experiencing a COVID-19-related hardship.


Covid related laws and assistance

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