COVID-19 Resources for Homeowners and Renters



HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS


Events: Workshops and Webinars

On October 15, 2020, ECHO Housing held a live webinar presentation for tenants and landlords of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties about tenant protections. To access this presentation, click here. For information about ECHO Housing, please visit www.echofairhousing.org.
CALIFORNIA COVID-19 RENT RELIEF AVAILABLE MARCH 15, 2021 
APPLICATIONS CLOSED ON MARCH 31, 2022
Rent Relief
The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program will help income-eligible El Cerrito tenants and landlords with unpaid rent and utilities dating back to April 1, 2020. The federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provides funding to support the State program established through the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act. If you have experienced a financial hardship due to COVID‐19, have past due rent or utilities and your household income is not more than 80% of the area median income, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the State of California. Both landlords and tenants can verify eligibility and apply for assistance by visiting HousingIsKey.com, or by calling 833‐430‐2122.

Moratorium on evictions: city, county and state legislative actions (AS OF FEBRUARY 2022)

The City of El Cerrito Eviction Moratorium remains in place for El Cerrito residents/businesses (after September 30, 2021) through the duration of the City’s Local Emergency Declaration.

  • City of El Cerrito Temporary Moratorium on Evictions: On March 25, 2020, the City Council adopted a local Urgency Ordinance enacting a temporary eviction moratorium for residential and commercial tenants financially impacted by COVID-19. The Ordinance is set to expire upon the termination of the City’s Local Emergency Declaration adopted on March 13, 2020 in response to the pandemic and remains in place (as of 9/30/2021). The Ordinance does not establish rent forgiveness but provides temporary rent forbearance to those who qualify. The Ordinance also suspends late fees from being charged for qualified residential and commercial tenants who can demonstrate loss of income or revenue due to COVID-19. For El Cerrito residents, under State Law AB 2179, the repayment period begins on August 1, 2022 and tenants will have 6-months to repay unpaid rent. The City encourages tenants to notify their property owner/manager to discuss a repayment plan if you are experiencing loss of income from work, childcare costs related to school closures, healthcare costs related to COVID-19. Property owners also have expenses mounting and similar actions are being taken by the Federal Government and banking industry to provide mortgage and other relief. Residential tenants are encouraged to apply for financial assistance through the California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program by visiting HousingIsKey.com or by contacting 833-430-2122 (toll free) daily between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. In Contra Costa County, the following providers have partnered with the State to support tenants and landlord needing to access funds:
Still have questions? The Contra Costa Housing Services Collaborative offers comprehensive housing services, including tenant/landlord counseling as well as fair housing to County residents at no cost. For legal consultation or representation, please contactCentro Legal at 510-437-1554.
The Contra Costa County Eviction Moratorium Expires on September 30, 2021.
  • Contra Costa County Moratorium on Evictions and Rent Increases: On June 22, 2021, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Urgency Ordinance No. 2021-20 that continues a temporary eviction moratorium for certain residential tenants and a moratorium on certain residential rent increases through September 30, 2021. The Urgency Ordinance also continues a temporary eviction moratorium for certain commercial tenants through September 30, 2021. Urgency Ordinance No. 2021-20 supersedes Ordinance No. 2021-11 and takes effect immediately. See Press Release (PDF) and Press Release Spanish (PDF): Contra Costa County Passes Ordinance to Extend Eviction Protection and Rent Freeze. See Urgency Ordinance No. 2021-20 (PDF) and Urgency Ordinance No. 2021-20 Spanish (PDF). Please visit the County’s website here for additional information.
The State of California Eviction Moratorium Expires on September 30, 2021.
State of California: The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act
In 2020, several new laws were established to assist households financially affected by COVID-19. On August 31, 2020, the Governor signed AB 3088: CA Tenant, Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020, a statewide eviction moratorium that applies to residential tenants and small property owners through January 31, 2021. Subsequently, SB 91 - COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act - took effect on February 1, 2021, which extended and expanded the protections in AB 3088. Both laws, AB 3088 and SB 91, protects tenants with a COVID related financial impact from eviction for nonpayment of rent, including set requirements for unpaid rent starting in March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Additional action was taken by the Governor on June 28, 2021 through AB 832 – CA COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act – to extend AB 3088 and SB 91 through September 30, 2021 and includes some additional protections. It also protects tenants from "no cause" evictions, meaning an eviction where the landlord does not state a reason through October 1, 2021. There is information and links below to a variety of resources for both tenants and property owners available at www.housing.ca.gov.

As required by the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act, landlords are to provide various forms/notices depending on the rent payment period. Please visit https://housing.ca.gov/landlord/forms.html for more information.

Higher Income Tenants are households earning at least 130% of median income, as published by the Department of Housing & Community Development, may be required to provide documentation to support their declaration upon a landlord’s request. All household members, including minors, shall be considered in determining the household size.

Any unpaid rent between March 1, 2020 – August 31, 2020, is not grounds for eviction, but is still owed to the landlord and can be converted to consumer debt.

Any unpaid rent due between September 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, is due unless the tenant is unable to pay due to COVID-19 hardship. In this case, tenants must provide the declaration of hardship to the landlord and pay an amount that equals at least 25% of the total rent by September 30, 2021, for rent that came due or will come due anytime during the period of September 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021. It is important for tenants to apply to the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program to be protected from eviction if you are unable to pay rent.

REMEMBER: A declaration of hardship must be provided to the landlord if tenants are unable to pay any portion of the rent amount due and have decreased income or increased expenses due to COVID-19, tenants must sign and deliver the declaration of to the landlord to be covered under these protections. A blank form is available on the State’s website here.

Links to Resources:
Additional forms, resources and guidelines can be accessed at Housing is Key by visiting www.housing.ca.gov.

To access AB 3088 and its full legal requirements, please visit the California Legislative Information website by clicking here.

If you need additional information or have questions, please contact Aissia Ashoori, Housing Analyst, at aashoori@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

Additional information regarding tenant protections is available at el-cerrito.org/tenantprotections

Other Resources


  • Shelter Inc. – COVID 19 Hotline for County Residents at 925-349-0571
The SHELTER, Inc. COVID-19 hotline serves community members affected by the COVID-19 virus. These dedicated emergency funds are for those who are impacted during these trying times. This program, an expansion of their eviction prevention hotline, assists families who have lost income, increased expenses for safety precautions, and are at risk of losing their housing. Available assistance: Payment of past due rent, payment of current month's rent, payment of future months' rent, payment of outstanding utility bills, funds for food and necessities, funds for short-term emergency housing, referrals to other services.

Are you a veteran? SHELTER, Inc.’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) provides housing subsidies for veterans in Contra Costa County. The SSVF can cover monthly rent payments for a period of 24-months. Please call 925.957.7592 for assistance.
  • Contra Costa Housing Services Collaborative: If you are a tenant, homeowner, or landlord in need of assistance, you are eligible to receive one-on-one counseling services through this County partnership. ECHO Housing has also received additional funding to assist with COVID-19 households in need of tenant/landlord counseling and related legal services for COVID-19-affected tenant households
  • Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services launched the COVID- 19 Rapid Response Fund-Share that provides support to single-family households with minor children and/or seniors, who can demonstrate a COVID-19 financial hardship and are at risk of losing utility services. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come/first-serve basis and awards will be based on family size. To apply, please email info@eastbaynhs.org. Click here to view and print the application.
  • Mortgage Payment Relief - some banks and mortgage companies are providing mortgage relief. Check with your mortgage company for details. Click here for details on how to apply for relief.
  • Contra Costa Crisis Center: The County’s 211 database provides a comprehensive, up-to-date, and free-of-charge database of local health and social services.
  • Catholic Charities, Housing Services in Contra Costa County: If you are at-risk of losing your current housing or need help to move to more stable housing, then Catholic Charities might be able to help you with eviction prevention services including back rent, utility assistance and security deposits. Please dial (925) 825-3099 or email housingservices@cceb.org to be screened for assistance.
  • Bay Area Legal Aid: Provides legal assistance to low-income County residents. Please contact their legal advice line at 800-551-5554.
  • Housing and Economic Rights Advocates: HERA is California statewide, not-for-profit legal service and advocacy organization dedicated to helping Californians. Their staff provides free legal services, consumer workshops, training for professionals and community organizing and engage in policy work locally, statewide and nationally.
  • The State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) may be able to provide income replacement for a variety of reasons during these difficult times. If you have been laid off, experienced a reduction in hours, sick/quarantined, caring for an ill/quarantined family member or your child’s school is closed you may be eligible for benefits. Governor Newsom recently waived the one-week unpaid waiting period and encourages those affected to file a claim as soon as possible to avoid a delay in benefits. Please visit the EDD website for more information: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

UTILITIES

CPUC: Extension of Moratorium on Disconnection for Non-Payment and Fees for Late Payment for Voice Service Through February 15, 2022 click here

The CPUC shutoff moratorium ended on September 30, 2021.Qualified PG&E customers will be automatically enrolled in their COVID Relief Payment Plan to pay your balance over time. To learn more, click here.

Due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, EBMUD will continue to maintain full water service for residential customers who are delinquent on their bill. EBMUD has applied for and received funding for customers who are delinquent on their bills through the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program (CWAPP). This relief applies to households who fell behind on the water bill due to financial hardships related to the pandemic. When funding is received from the state, which is expected in February 2022, EBMUD will apply a credit directly to the customer’s account within 60 days. The CWAPP relief only covers bill debt between March 1, 2020 and June 15, 2021. For more information, click here.

The California legislature approved the California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP) in the 2021-2022 State Budget. CAPP will be administered by the Department of Community Services and Development (CSD). CAPP dedicates $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to address Californian's energy debts. Utility customers do not need to apply to receive assistance under the CAPP program. If a customer account is eligible, a credit will be automatically applied to the customer bill. Energy utilities will apply for CAPP assistance on behalf of customers who incurred a past due balance of 60 days or more on their energy bill during the COVID-19 pandemic relief period covering March 4, 2020 through June 15, 2021. Please visit the CSD website for more information.

Other Information



Homeowners who may have fallen behind on housing payments due to COVID-19 financial hardship should visit the California Mortgage Relief Program website here or https://camortgagerelief.org/.

If you’re concerned about how to pay your mortgage or rent due to COVID-19, visit www.cfpb.gov/housing for more information and what your options are for mortgage relief.

If your ability to pay your mortgage is impacted, and your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (use the "loan lookup" tools: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup for Fannie Mae or https://loanlookup.freddiemac.com for Freddie Mac to find out), you may be eligible to delay making your monthly mortgage payments for a temporary period, during which:
  • You won’t incur late fees.
  • Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended

If you need additional information or have questions, please contact Aissia Ashoori, Housing Analyst, at aashoori@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

The City also has a special webpage at www.el-cerrito.org/COVID19 which is a central clearinghouse for information related to City services and other resources related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. If you’d like to receive text or email updates about the City’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, please visit el-cerrito.org/notifyme. Sign in to subscribe to “Alert Center” for "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update.