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The COVID-19 Pandemic has made it strikingly clear how vulnerable low income and working-class tenants are in a housing system that prioritizes profits. This website is dedicated to sharing information for San Jose tenants and organizing efforts for community defense and health.
We join state and national housing justice calls for:
An Immediate Moratorium on Rent Increases, ALL Evictions, Foreclosures and Sheriff Lockouts;
Rent and Mortgage Cancellation;
A Moratorium on Encampments Sweeps, Closure and Vehicle Tows;
Homes For All
STATE LAW ON EVICTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
• As of January 28, 2021, the state legislature passed SB 91, the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act, it effectively extends the statewide moratorium on evictions to June 30, 2021.
• Along with the moratorium extension Santa Clara County is expected to have access to federal rental assistance relief funds which as of yet has no rollout plan. Get in touch to see how you can help Cancel rent!
NOTICE TO PAY OR QUIT
• If you have received a “Notice to pay or quit'' because of missed rent, try your best to stay calm and take it step by step. Evictions are a legal process that takes time. Under AB 3088, notices to pay or quit must now be 15 days, where they used to be 3 days. If a landlord sends a notice to pay or quit you must follow these steps to obtain the protections listed above:
• First, DO NOT SELF EVICT. Landlords are required to attach a “Declaration of COVID-19-related economic impacts”. You must respond using the attached declaration within 15 business days. This confirms your economic impacts from COVID, such as lost income or increased costs.
• Send it immediately and keep a copy of the notice and the declaration. Keep careful records of all rent payments, receipts/notices, and any communication with your landlord.
• DO NOT SELF-EVICT
• If you receive an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent or "Notice to Quit" you MUST sign and return A Declaration of COVID-19-related financial impact that SHOULD be included with the notice within 15 days of getting it and returning it to your landlord.
• You cannot be evicted for ANY unpaid rent from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020 if you have been COVID impacted. This debt becomes 'civil debt' v.s. 'rent debt' so you cannot be evicted for it BUT you have until February 28, 2021 to pay 50% of the civil debt and until August 31, 2021 to pay 100%.
• You cannot be evicted for unpaid rent from September 2020 to June 2021 as long as you complete a declaration that you have COVID-related economic impacts and cover 25% of the rent from September 2020 to June 2021 by June 30, 2021. Make sure to specify in writing to your landlord what month you are paying for and what percentage of the rent you are paying, for example, “25% of Sept. 2020 rent.”
• Under AB3088 Landlords face increased penalties if they illegally lock out tenants, shut off utilities like hot water, or engage in other extreme harassing behavior. So document EVERYTHING.
• A lease termination is not an eviction. A lease termination comes in the form of a 30 or 60 day notice.
• If you have received a lease termination in San Jose and have been a resident for over 1 year, your notice must be at least 60 days. San Jose’s Tenant Protection Ordinance applies to most rental properties applying to most buildings built more than 15 years ago, including single family homes if they are owned by a corporation and prohibits “no-cause” notices of any kind. In San Jose a lease termination must have a “just cause”. Landlords must submit all notices of termination to the city’s rent stabilization program.
• San Jose’s Tenant Protection Ordinance https://www.sanjoseca.gov/home/showdocument?id=45535 site lists what is an appropriate "just cause" and most require a written warning first. In some situations, if the Landlord wants you to leave they may have to compensate you for moving costs.
• Those not in San Jose the statewide Tenants Protection Act https://sfrb.org/article/summary-ab-1482-california-tenant-protection-act-2019 AB 1482’s protections apply to most buildings built more than 15 years ago, including single-family homes, if they are owned by a corporation. If you have lived in the unit for more than a year (even though they are currently on a month-to-month lease), the Just Cause protection of AB 1482 would prohibit no-cause notices.
REPAYMENT PLANS / TIMELINE UNDER AB 3088
• If you have been presented with a repayment contract from your landlord, you are not required to sign because the AB3088 has an allotted time to repay. If you previously signed a repayment plan, under AB 3088 that repayment plan is now void.
• From September 1st - June, 31st 2021 tenants who have completed a COVID declaration must pay at least 25% of their rent to not be evicted. This can be paid per month or in one lump sum on February 1st. Tenants will still be responsible for the remaining 75% of unpaid rent as it will be turned into civil debt.
• Tenants now have until February 28, 2021, to repay at least 50% of the past-due rent, and until August 31 2021 to repay the past-due rent in full.
• Unpaid rent will be turned into civil debt and tenants cannot be evicted for this debt.
• The landlord can still seek to recover any of this unpaid rent in small claims court after July 1, 2021.
• Tenants should keep careful records of all rent payments, receipts/notices, and any communication with their landlord.
Nationally there have been different bills and initiatives regarding Rent Cancellation. This is what we mean when we say "Cancel Rent"
• All tenants would not have to pay rent during the crisis & recovery period as well as no owed rent debt at the end
• All required paperwork would be the landlord's responsibility, tenants shouldn’t have to prove or show anything
• For folks who have partially paid, they would have the remainder forgiven
• All repayment plans would immediately be canceled and void
• Eliminates rent increases and locks in mortgages at current rates. THEY CANT RAISE THE RENT
• In San Jose: there is a rent freeze for apartments under rent control and mobile homes
• A rent strike is a tactic used to get a demand met by withholding rent.
• In this crisis, many are already on "strike", because they have no other option but to not pay rent. In saying they are striking they are demanding their situation be addressed.
• Although there are current protections under the moratorium, the obligation to pay after it is lifted is not realistic for those without work, through no fault of their own. Declaring a rent strike after the moratorium alongside thousands of others will be a more powerful force to propel rent cancellation.
JOIN THE COMMUNITY DEFENSE
Sign up if you need support, are interested in organizing with neighbors, or to be on
call for emergency eviction response.
PARTICIPATORY DEFENSE HOUSING
• Every Wednesday at 5:30pm we hold our Participatory Defense Housing zoom call - in the model of our criminal justice work - if you need support on how to exercise your rights, write a letter to your landlord, need help navigating a housing situation join the meeting by registering below!
SOUTH BAY MUTUAL AID
• We don't offer any monetary support, but community members in the south bay have created and are facilitating an ongoing effort to give support in a multitude of different ways. If you need support reach out and if you can also give a kind if support offer to help.