San Jose city leaders this week decided to extend a moratorium on evictions and agreed to consider expanding the city's protections on renters during the coronavirus pandemic.
The City Council voted Tuesday to extend the moratorium on residential evictions until May 31 and to consider a plan that adds multiple layers of protections for renters affected by the coronavirus crisis.
The expanded renters protections would include prohibiting landlords from threatening tenants with eviction if those tenants cannot provide evidence of their inability to pay rent.
It also would include a freeze on rent increases for the rest of the year.
Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco wrote in a memo that the city's plan does much more to protect renters than the statewide eviction ban.
"Despite issuance of the court’s orders this week, some residents have received a threat of eviction from property managers for nonpayment of rent. This is likely taking place as a result of a lack of information and a rapidly evolving legal landscape," Carrasco wrote. "Still, it has the potential to occur as a way to coerce tenants into vacating the property or to harass, which is what some of our residents have reported."
As part of the plan, Carrasco recommended the following:
- Prevent landlords from serving an eviction notice on a tenant if they have reason to know the tenant is currently impacted by COVID-19.
- Prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant because the tenant has been infected or is suffering from COVID-19, under the pretext of another viable reason for eviction such as owner move-in, breach of agreement, or a COVID-19 related nuisance.
- After a tenant has been served notice from a landlord, allow tenant up to 7 days to provide a notice informing the landlord that they have been impacted by COVID 19.
- Protect tenants unable to provide COVID-19-related documentation to landlords from harassment and retaliation.
The rent increase freeze, proposed by Councilman Raul Peralez, would cover about 49,000 residences, including an estimated 10,000 mobile homes, and would remain in effect until Dec. 31, according to the Mercury News.
The council is expected to vote on the expanded renters protections on April 21.