The statewide eviction moratorium ended at midnight, but remaining protections will delay any changes in the current landlord-tenant status quo through March.
With over a billion dollars in state assistance untapped, there is still time for tenants to pay bills and landlords to access funds.
Tenants who have submitted an application for rental assistance and not been rejected are protected under state law.
“Tenants who owe back rent or who will have trouble paying rent on the first of the month should not wait to apply for rent relief,” Department of Housing and Community Development Department Director Gustavo Velasquez said in a news release. “The sooner they apply for rent relief, the sooner they will be protected from eviction for non-payment of rent.”
Santa Barbara County residents can apply for help from the state’s program or the county’s grants, which are offered through United Way of Santa Barbara County.
Tenants who make 80% or less of their area’s median income are eligible for both the state and county programs. For a single-person household in Santa Barbara County, the income limit is $70,050.
Landlords can apply for rental assistance from the state and must apply and be denied before they can file an eviction.
Another prerequisite for evictions is proof the tenant has not filed for rent relief.
A tenant has 15 days from when they receive a nonpayment eviction notice to open an application.
If an eviction notice includes a document titled “Declaration of COVID-19 related financial distress,” tenants who fill out and return the document within 15 days have a stronger argument for protection.
The California COVID-19 Rent Relief program has received 2,238 applications from Santa Barbara County residents. The program has fulfilled 546 of those requests with an average of $9,661 in assistance.
In total, the state has paid almost $5.275 million of the more than $23 million requested in the county.
The program tracks the demographics of applicants, including their income level. More than 63% of Santa Barbara County applicants make just 30% of the area’s median income.
Statewide, the program has spent $650 million with an additional $850 million pending. The state is preparing to spend another $1.5 billion in a second round of assistance.
Over 4,750 households have secured assistance from Santa Barbara County and United Way’s joint effort. The program has provided $2.2 million of the $5.6 million in assistance.
Both the state and county sources provide utility grants and three months’ prospective rent in some circumstances.
Beginning Nov. 1, landlords can sue for unpaid rent.
To apply for the state’s program, go to housing.ca.gov/covid_rr. For the county’s assistance, go to unitedwaysb.org/rent.