Passed in late January 2021, SB-91 is a bill that aids tenants and landlords impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SB-91 is a follow up to the AB3088 bill, known as the Tenant Relief Act passed into legislation in August of 2020 and expired on January 21, 2021. This act included an eviction moratorium that prevented owners from evicting tenants who were financially unable to pay rent due to the pandemic. It also required all residential landlords in California to comply with the just cause eviction procedures of the Tenant Protection Act of 2019. SB-91 effectively extends these protections through the end of June 2021, making California the state with the most renter protections in the country.
While tenants are still legally responsible for paying unpaid amounts to owners, tenants cannot be evicted because of these unpaid amounts, even after the moratorium ends. Further, owners must meet the state’s requirements to give the tenant a notice to vacate and may be required to pay the tenant relocation assistance.
Implemented with the passing of SB-91, is the creation of $2.6 billion dollars in federal funds set aside for programs designed to help both tenants and owners, with a generous amount of it being allocated to California. Landlords who agree to waive 20% of unpaid rent can apply to receive government assistance. When they agree to this waiver, they will become eligible for 80% in rent reimbursements for amounts owed between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. The California Rental Assistance Program will begin accepting applications from property owners and tenants in March 2021.