The Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors will vote at its meeting today on an urgency ordinance prohibiting commercial evictions between Sept. 1 and Jan. 31.
This would extend a temporary commercial eviction moratorium the board passed that is set to expire on Sept. 30. Per Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-80-20, the Board of Supervisors can temporarily suspend commercial evictions through March 31.
The urgency ordinance is being discussed at a time when many businesses have felt their ability to earn money and pay rent impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ordinance runs parallel with AB 3088, also known as the Tenant Relief Act, which temporarily prohibits the eviction of residential tenants who are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 financial losses.
According to the urgency ordinance’s board letter, the ordinance will not eliminate a commercial tenant’s obligation to pay rent or a landlord’s ability to recover rent due.
For a commercial tenant to not be evicted, the tenant must provide written notice to the owner and provide documentation such as a “Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress,” demonstrating that failure to pay rent is due to COVID-19.
Also, a commercial tenant who wants to avoid eviction must have paid 25% of each rental payment due from Sept. 1 to Jan. 31.
The adoption of the urgency ordinance requires a four-fifths vote.
In other business, the Board of Supervisors will also receive a COVID-19 update from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department..
As of the last Board of Supervisors meeting on Sept. 22, much of Santa Barbara County was experiencing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases and was on the way to moving tiers in the state’s color-coded classification system. Public Health director Van Do-Reynoso said the county qualified for the red tier, the second highest signifying “substantial” COVID-19 transmission, and could move into the tier if its conditions held until today.
Santa Barbara County has been in the highest and most restrictive purple tier, signifying “widespread” COVID-19 transmission.