Governor Gavin Newsom said that he will fulfill his promise of paying off all the rents that have accumulated due to the pandemic; to help both landlords and tenants. This will give renters a chance to start again and landlords much needed relief mainly to those who make a living by renting property. However, one issue looming ahead is the states and the federal protection during the pandemic is due to expire on June 30.
California had offered additional protection to its residents as it was one of the first to close and one of the last to reopen. It has seen its economy improve and Newsom and the government is flush with funds. Federal funds are also available and there is enough money to cover the rents. However, the disbursement of funds has been slow.
Jason Elliot, senior counselor to Newsom on housing and homelessness, indicated that the Golden State has $5.2 billion from multiple aid packages that have been approved by Congress. According to him, this is more than sufficient to pay all the overdue and unpaid rent in the state.
The governor and his team are meeting privately to look into the matter and a state extension is highly probable. The issue of contention is the period of extension as landlords and tenants’ rights groups have been unable to find middle ground.
According to a report from the California Department Housing and Community Development, there is $490 million in rental assistance requests across the state through May 31, of which only $32 million has been disbursed. These figures do not include twelve cities and counties across California who had their own programs for rental assistance.
Landlords say that the growing economy and the reopening of the state should be a reason not to extend the moratorium while senior attorney for the Western Center of Law and Poverty Madeline Howard said that people in lower wage jobs “are not back yet.”
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom had told Univision that he “definitely” wishes to extent protections against eviction beyond the current deadline of June 30, giving cautious optimism to those who are still struggling to find a job and pay rent.
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