Governor Newsom Signs Bill to Extend Rental Assistance and Eviction Protections
July 1, 2021
The June 28 budget includes the state share of an additional $2.6 billion in federal funds available for emergency rental assistance to California tenants and landlords affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. AB 832 (Chiu) extends and modifies the framework of tenant protections and rental assistance funding created by SB 91 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, 2021). AB 832 was approved by both houses of the Legislature with two-thirds votes and was signed by the Governor Monday night. As an urgency measure, it took effect immediately.
Key changes related to tenant protections in AB 832 include:
- Expanding funding eligibility for 100% of rental arrears and future rent for both landlord and tenants, for up to 18 months of total aid.
- Allowing tenants to apply on their own if their landlord does not apply.
- Extending eviction protections for non-payment of rent related to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic from June 30, 2021 to September 30, 2021, provided that the tenant has paid 25% of the rent due.
- From October 1, 2021 to March 30, 2022 evictions for rental debt accumulated due to COVID-19 cannot proceed unless the landlord has applied for and been denied rental assistance funding to cover the rental debt.
Key changes related to locally-enacted COVID-19 tenant protections and the administration of emergency rental assistance in AB 832 include:
- State preemption of any local eviction protection measure is extended until March 31, 2022.
- Local governments that have completed rental assistance payments pursuant to SB 91 must provide additional assistance from AB 832 to previous recipients so that total assistance is equivalent to 100% of an eligible household’s rental arrears or prospective rent to the period originally requested.
- Local governments that received SB 91 block grant funding must obligate 65% of that funding no later than August 1, 2021, after which unobligated funds shall be available for reallocation to other parts of the state based on unmet need, rate of applications, rate of attrition and rate of expenditures.
- By September 15, 2021, each local government rental assistance program must develop mechanisms, including but not limited to telephone and online access, for landlords, tenants and courts to verify the status of applications for rental assistance, including whether the application has been approved or denied and, if applicable, the reason for the denial.
SB 91 allowed counties with populations of at least 200,000 to choose between three options for implementation of “round one” emergency rental assistance funding: Option A (state-administered program), Option B (locally administered program conforming with state program), and Option C (non-conforming locally administered program). AB 832 includes options for counties to select a different administrative model for the “round two” emergency rental assistance, subject to limitations outlined in Sections 24 and 26 of the bill.
For round two emergency rental assistance funding, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) can use up to 15 percent of funding available for state administration. HCD shall also reserve $125 million for emergency rental assistance to tenants and landlords in counties with populations less than 200,000 to be allocated based on each county’s proportionate share of the population from the 2019 federal census data. Counties with populations of 200,000 or greater are eligible to apply for round two block grant funding, which will be allocated based on the local jurisdiction’s share of the state’s population from the 2019 federal census data. Grantees must request an allocation no later than 30 days after the operative date of AB 832. HCD shall pay all grantees an initial payment of at least 40% of each grantee’s total round two allocation based on their share of population. Grantees must contractually obligate 75% of this initial allocation by October 31, 2021, and 50 percent of their total state allocation by January 31, 2022.