SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Just hours before California's eviction moratorium was set to expire, the State Legislature passed an emergency bill which now extends those renter protections through the end of June.
This three-month reprieve should give the state enough time to administer billions of dollars in rent relief, allowing tenants who face the possibility of eviction to remain in their homes.
Keep in mind, it only protects those tenants impacted by COVID who applied for rental assistance by Thursday, March 31.
"I'm fighting for my home!" said Francisco Hernandez.
He and his family have lived in a one-bedroom unit in Linda Vista since 2006, but are now facing the possibility of eviction.
"We got this one in November, and then we got a second notice two weeks ago," he told CBS 8.
Hernandez said that many of his neighbors, frightened by the first notice, moved out without a fight: slowly destroying his community.
Hernandez said that he is determined to stay where he lives.
"That's my house: my home, " he said. "It might belong to somebody else, but it's my home!"
Because he did fall one month behind on rent due to the pandemic, he was able to apply for rent relief, and is still waiting on a response. This means that he falls under the newly extended eviction moratorium.
He is also hopeful that next week, the San Diego City Council will pass further protections that were recently proposed, which would shield tenants from no-fault evictions, such as when a landlord wants to remove a renter in order to make renovations.
He also believes that more needs to be done on a long-term basis.
"We need permanent solutions," he told CBS 8. "This is a temporary protection to a permanent problem."
In the meantime, landlords and property owners across California have come out in staunch opposition to extending the moratorium through June.
The California Rental Housing Association said in a statement:
"This is now the fourth proposed extension of the eviction moratorium. Enough is enough. Some of our members have not received rental income for more than two years and can no longer make ends meet."
Hernandez said he would not be able to make ends meet if he had to move, faced with the possibility of paying triple what he now pays.
He is also urging any tenants impacted by COVID who need rental assistance to apply by the midnight deadline on March 31.
"It's not really a long process," he added. "It takes about 5 to 10 minutes. It's a very easy thing to do. Don't waste any time."
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