SAN PABLO (BCN) -- The San Pablo City Council will decide Tuesday whether to create a new urgency ordinance aimed at stopping no-fault evictions, as rising COVID-19 numbers cause increased hardship to city renters.
State and county eviction protections expired in October, as COVID-19 numbers went down and more people were able to get back to work. But the omicron variant has changed things.
According to a staff report for Tuesday's meeting, state law prohibits municipalities from passing new eviction protections relating to unpaid rent due between March 1, 2020, through March 31, 2022. But it doesn't prohibit new just cause protections related to unpaid rent.
"Increased non-payment protections and decreased no-fault eviction protections, coupled with delays in distributing rent relief, have incentivized landlords to commence 'no-fault' evictions to circumvent the strong state protections on non-payment of rent," the report says. "Delays in distributing rent relief have increased landlords' desires to remove tenants from rental properties for any reason. The delays in rent relief have been especially harmful for residents of San Pablo, of whom approximately 20 percent were below the poverty line before the pandemic.
The report notes that "San Pablo, like other communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, was already experiencing a housing affordability crisis, which is driving homelessness and displacement of residents."
The report also points out African-American and Latino residents have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and have been infected at higher rates than other groups.
"This ordinance will serve justice and promote racial equity for African American and Latino renters," it read.
If enacted, the council can apply the new ordinance retroactively.
The San Pablo City Council meets virtually at 6 p.m. Tuesday and can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/SPCCmtg011822.
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