Rent is due again in two weeks, but Santa Clara city residents who aren’t able to pay because of COVID-19 will be able to stay in their homes through the end of September.
The Santa Clara City Council Aug. 18 approved a temporary eviction moratorium through Sept. 30 to protect public health, preserve affordable housing stock and prevent homelessness. There was no discussion, other than one public comment in opposition from a landlord.
Councilmembers first adopted a moratorium March 24 through a COVID-19 urgency ordinance. The latest extension is a result of the Emergency Evictions Protection Ordinance the City Council adopted April 28, which activates a 30-day period that may be extended.
The protections also cover no-fault evictions and now aligns with Santa Clara County’s recent extension.
These local actions are necessary because California’s moratorium on evictions expired Aug. 14 after state judges said elected legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom need to be the ones coordinating a permanent fix to address the issue.
“The judicial branch cannot usurp the responsibility of the other two branches on a long-term basis to deal with the myriad impacts of the pandemic,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said Aug. 13. “The duty of the judicial branch is to resolve disputes under the law and not to legislate. I urge our sister branches to act expeditiously to resolve this looming crisis.”
This crisis has produced multiple stressors for renters, especially as many workers still haven’t returned to work, unpaid bills have stacked up thousands in debt and the federal CARES Act unemployment $600 payments ended.
California’s unemployment was towering at 14.9% in June, according to a report from the state’s Employment Development Department. That rate is at 10.7% in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area.
But even for those who are working, parents with school-aged children may have to adjust work schedules or take time off, putting extra strain on families, especially hourly wage workers.