While California Gov. Gavin Newsom has placed a two-month delay on imposing evictions for people who cannot pay rent due to the COVID-19 crisis, many renters feel there is not enough being done to address their needs. According to The Guardian, tenants’ groups say the governor’s order does not go far enough.
Groups point to Newsom’s order only temporarily restricting the enforcement of evictions, still allowing landlords to start the eviction process after the moratorium expires.
“It includes a lot of ways for tenants to trip up,” said Michael Trujillo, staff attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley’s housing program, adding, “The governor has the power right now to just prohibit all evictions.”
According to some groups, in high-rent areas such as San Francisco, many renters may not be able to retroactively.
“If six months later, I had a $20,000 debt waiting for me that I was expected to pay off right away, that would not be possible, especially after months of not having a stable paycheck,” said Lupe Arreola, Executive Director of Tenants Together.
On the national level, activists are pushing for a national hold on evictions and foreclosures, in an effort to safeguard public health. Currently, the federal government is placing a moratorium on only public housing evictions.
“It's never been more clear that housing is health care,” said Diane Yentel, the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The ability for people to self-isolate, self-quarantine in their homes is essential to all of our health, and so I think there's a really important business reason and public health reason and the certainly moral reason why big banks and regulators should take this step.”
According to Jesse Van Tol, the CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a blanket national halt to evictions and foreclosures would help policymakers get ahead of any uptick in delinquencies and defaults, preventing the government form “reacting to it and playing catch-up,” he told American Banker.