SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today released his latest “On the Record” column raising awareness of the new resources and protections for renters in California experiencing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the state’s continued advocacy for action from the federal government to support renters and homeowners. 

Click here to read the latest column. 

“We have made remarkable progress in helping more Californians keep a roof over their heads during this emergency, but even a state as large and influential as ours cannot tackle a national crisis on our own,” wrote the Governor in his column. “Without federal support for renters and homeowners, anyone out of a job, behind on their housing payments or struggling with medical bills will potentially face the prospect of losing their home. That’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s not good for our economy or communities. Investing in our renters can make a big difference around the country. It would help stabilize the housing market, help America recover from the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic and keep people in their homes.” 

The column is part of a media collaboration with California Black Media, Ethnic Media Services, ImpreMedia, Univision and LGBTQ outlets Bay Area Reporter and Los Angeles Blade to contribute original content from the Governor on important topics impacting Californians, including the state’s diverse communities. Any media outlet is welcome to pull the column from the Governor’s website to publish on their platforms. 

In August, Governor Newsom signed legislation to protect millions of tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. These protections apply to tenants who declare an inability to pay all or part of the rent due to a COVID-related reason. Under the new law, no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021 as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020, if the tenant provides a Tenant Distress Form within 15 days after receipt of a “pay or quit” notice. 

For a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due to avoid eviction after February 1, 2021 for the unpaid rent. Tenants are still responsible for paying unpaid amounts to landlords, but those unpaid amounts cannot be the basis for an eviction. 

The state has also launched the “Housing is Key” campaign in vulnerable communities aimed at connecting renters and landlords with helpful information and resources. Tenants and landlords can learn more about the new Tenant, Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 by visiting COVID19.ca.gov or going directly to HousingIsKey.com. Information on how to access to low- or no-cost legal help is available at https://lawhelpca.org/

The Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act builds on the state’s strongest-in-the-nation rent cap and eviction protections passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor last year. The Governor also signed major legislation last year to boost housing production, remove barriers to construction of accessory dwelling units and create an ongoing source of funding for borrower relief and legal aid to vulnerable homeowners and renters. Last year’s budget made a historic $1.75 billion investment in new housing and created major incentives for cities to approve new home construction. In the first weeks of his administration, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that created an inventory of all excess state land and has launched partnerships with California cities to develop affordable housing on that land.