May 26, 2020
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SUPERVISORS MOVE TO EXTEND
MORATORIUM ON “COVID-19 EVICTIONS”
SAN JOSE – Today, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously (5-0) in support of County Supervisor Joe Simitian’s proposal to extend the temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions resulting from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); the current moratorium is set to expire on May 31. The moratorium extension is set to run until August 31 (pending state action).
The extension is in part contingent on the extension of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-28-20, which suspends state law that would otherwise preempt or restrict local jurisdictions’ authority to suspend the evictions of tenants for the non-payment of rent. If the Governor does not extend Executive Order N-28-20 (which expires May 31), the Board will vote on extending portions of the moratorium that do not rely on his order - including residential evictions - at its June 2nd meeting.
The Board of Supervisors voted to extend
the eviction moratorium through August 31st, 2020, or, if the
Governor takes action, to the date set forth by the Governor’s action,
whichever date is earlier. The ordinance allows the Board to shorten or extend
the order based on the continued existence of a local emergency. Simitian said,
“We’d like to be in sync with the Governor’s office if we can, but if the
Governor’s office doesn’t take action on a timely basis, we’ll need to act
unilaterally to do what we can.”
Given the current shelter in place
order, it is unlikely that the circumstances of commercial and residential tenants
who have lost income due to the current public health emergency will change
significantly before May 31st. “Extending the eviction moratorium
allows residents and small businesspeople more time to apply for and receive
funding and benefits from various relief programs,” said Simitian.
Simitian, who made the motion to adopt
the original Ordinance and proposed the approved extension observed, “Given the
current health crisis, we’re obliged to extend the temporary moratorium if only
to ensure folks can continue to shelter in place.”
Simitian also asked County staff to
report back on extending the repayment period for back rent (currently 120
days), given widespread community concern that the 120-day repayment period in
the current ordinance is less than ideal for either landlords or tenants. “The
challenge, of course, is that as rent due stacks up, people will need even more
time. Both landlords and renters have expressed this concern,” said Simitian.
The Ordinance prevents evictions for
failure to pay rent from occurring during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The countywide application means that it applies countywide, except in the
event that a city has passed a measure/provision that is more stringent than
the one approved by the Board of Supervisors. Effectively, this means that the
County’s ordinance will take precedence if a local ordinance is less stringent,
or, if no other local ordinance is in place.
“The world’s upside down right now,”
said Simitian. “The goal of the moratorium on evictions is to ensure people can
shelter in place, and to provide some measure of certainty and security. Rents
are still due, and fortunately most folks have been able to pay their rents.
But for those who can’t, the moratorium, and the time it provides, is a real
lifesaver, literally and figuratively.”
The proposal to extend the eviction
moratorium was co-authored by Supervisor Cindy Chavez. The full text of the
Ordinance extending the moratorium can be found on the May 26, 2020 Board of
Supervisors’s Agenda, Item #12. A link to that agenda can be found here: