Santa Clara County Extends Eviction Moratorium

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to extend an eviction moratorium on residential and commercial tenants through August.

But the decision is contingent on Gov. Gavin Newsom extending the state’s order before it expires at the end of the month. If he opts to let the moratorium sunset, the county will consider a modified ordinance on June 2, Supervisor Joe Simitian assured.

An extended repayment plan is also expected to be developed after some members of the public urged the county to look at the city of San Jose as an example. The San Jose City Council voted last week to allow tenants a year after the expiration of the eviction moratorium to pay past-due rent. The county’s current ordinance requires rent to be repaid within 120 days after the moratorium ends.

Newsom signed an executive order March 16 that allows local jurisdictions to halt evictions and slow foreclosures, among other things, through May 31. The order does not relieve a tenant from the obligation of paying rent, or restrict the landlord’s ability to recover rent that is due.

On March 24, county supervisors approved moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The moratorium applies to all 15 cities within the county.

In South County, the Morgan Hill City Council in March approved the concept of a moratorium if the supervisors failed to approve the countywide ordinance, while the Gilroy City Council voted down a local moratorium.

“We are still waiting to see what the governor does with the executive order,” County Counsel James Williams said, adding that if it isn’t extended, “There are some pieces that we might be able to move forward with, but not the entirety of the ordinance.”

Michael Trujillo, a staff attorney with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, said the moratorium is the only way many families in the county are able to stay in their homes during the pandemic. “Santa Clara County has been slower to reopen than many places in the state, and tenants haven’t had a chance to earn an income that will allow them to resume their normal rent payments on June 1,” he said.

Property owner Jeff Zell called a one-year repayment plan “somewhat reasonable,” but said his management company has put a hold on renting out available units because the county has not set firm dates on reopening. “These tenants are going to basically dig themselves in a hole unless you put them back to work,” he said.

In a letter to the board, landlord Amy Harris wrote that one of her tenants stopped paying rent after claiming hardship due to COVID-19. However, according to Harris, the tenant remains employed with a “good company” and after being served with an eviction notice, said the action could not be enforced.

“He is definitely abusing your ordinance,” Harris wrote. “He did not suffer any hardship, and is very well capable of paying what he owes me, but they are circumventing their obligations, because of your ordinance.”

Reporter Juan Reyes contributed to this report.

6 Comments

  1. this does not help people

    they will just owe more and increases the number of people who will get evicted

    it is far better to move to another state or another country than get evicted

    and evicted you will be if you cant pay your rent

    evicted is what you should be if you don’t pay your rent

    borrow from from friends, family, sell your gaming rig, cut a deal with your landlord to sign away causa justa

    but pay your rent or move

    you know what I am saying is right

  2. If you don’t think helps people you don’t own a small business. As a society we are all in this together. Landlords should not be exempt from any loss while small businesses take 100% of the burden.

    In fact just deferring the rent isn’t enough relief. Tenants will still owe rent despite incredible loses to their businesses while landlords take no loses? Over 100,000 restaurants will never RE-open in the US. We all have to share in this crisis.

    Forcing tenants to pay for buildings that they can’t use because of government beyond their control is the definition of “rent seeking”

    • > Landlords should not be exempt from any loss while small businesses take 100% of the burden.

      Landlords are probably only 3 to 5 percent of the population. Why would you ask them to bear ALL of the cost of nonpaying renters?

      Why not just ask, say, teachers or government employees to kick in ten percent of their paychecks to help the renters?

      Where do people get the crazy idea that whenever they see a social need, just rob the person standing closest to the problem to make everything better?

      It’s just like expecting the cops to arrest all the bystanders at a bank robbery and forcing them to make good on the bank losses.

    • If you have a small business then you are done.

      It isn’t likely that you will be coming back anytime soon. You probably can’t pay your rent. Just hand the keys over to the landlord and move on. The landlord may try to collect the rent arrears but more likely just write it off.

  3. It’s heading off to court as I don’t know if local cities and counties can override state rental laws.

  4. This is so stupid way to not pay rent because I need to pay my mortgage payments every month I have question what happens when the tenant won’t wants to pay anyways even the pandemic even the excuses theys saying loss job but despite that I don’t believe because sometimes theys don’t want to pay and take advantage of situation for the pandemic this is to much