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SB 91 provides $2.6 billion in federal funds for unpaid rent

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SB 91 provides $2.6 billion in federal funds for unpaid rent

Categories: Essentials Planning Residents

Published 01/30/2021

Gavin Newsom (CC BY-SA 4.0) by Gage Skidmore

Governor Gavin Newsom and the top two legislative leaders of California state have succeeded in passing SB 91. The legislation, SB 91, won overwhelming bipartisan approval Thursday in both houses of the Legislature. SB 91 replaces California’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, or AB 3088, which expires this Sunday.

This update extends eviction protections through the end of June while using federal funds to pay up to 80% of unpaid rent owed by tenants because of the coronavirus pandemic. A landlord who accepts the money will have to forgive the remaining balance of rent not paid for that period. If the landlord refuses this arrangement, the maximum subsidy drops to 25%. Additional federal dollars may be available to help cover unpaid rent through June of this year.

“Getting dollars to landlords is imperative,” said Debra Carlton, the California Apartment Association’s executive vice president of state public affairs. “Many landlords have not received rent in over-a-year, and some owners are on the brink of losing their homes. The administration must work quickly to get the dollars to landlords at the rate promised: 80 percent of the past rent owed by the tenant.”

For tenants to qualify for the federal relief funds, the unpaid rent must be owed by a tenant who earned less than 80% of the area median income in 2020 or at the time of application. The state must prioritize dollars for lower-income tenants — those earning up to 50% of area median income. According to the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, landlords and tenants would be allowed to apply for those dollars beginning in March 2021.

SB 91 also sets a deadline of Feb. 28th for landlords to provide a specific informational notice to tenants who are behind on rent as of Feb. 1st, 2020.

For more information and updates, please refer to the CAA website.

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