COVID-19 Resources for Homeowners and Renters



HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS


Recent Legislative and judicial Action
       Additional forms, resources and guidelines can be accessed at Housing is Key, here.
      
       County residents in need of housing counseling can reach out to the Contra Costa Housing Services Collaborative at no cost.

  • Contra Costa County creates moratorium on evictions and rent increases. On April 21, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors passed an Urgency Ordinance that temporarily prohibits evictions of residential and commercial property tenants and established a moratorium on rent increases for those impacted by COVID-19. Some of the protections ban evictions due to unpaid rent and no-fault evictions, prohibits late fees and provides a grace period of 120 days to pay back rent. The County’s Ordinance was extended on July 14 and remains in effect through September 30, 2020, unless extended by the Board of Supervisors. Please visit the County’s website here for additional information.
        You can also view the City's Frequently Asked Questions for details about both the City and County ordinances.

  • On March 25, 2020, the City Council joined other local cities in adopting an Urgency Ordinance enacting a temporary moratorium to halt evictions for residential and commercial tenants financially impacted by COVID-19. At this time, the Ordinance is set to expire on July 28, 2020, or the expiration of the local emergency or the Governor’s Proclamation Of A State of Emergency, whichever is later. The Ordinance does not establish rent forgiveness but provides temporary rent forbearance to those who qualify by providing 6-months, from the Ordinance expiration date, to catch up on unpaid rent and suspends late fees from being charged for qualified tenants who can demonstrate loss of income or revenue due to COVID-19. 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.
  • California Courts Limit the Types of Unlawful Detainers Accepted Until Further Notice
A. The Superior Court of California will continue to remain closed to the public at least until April 28, 2020, due to the extended Shelter in Place Order. Effective April 6, 2020, the Court adopted new Emergency Local Rules, which will remain in effect until rescinded or updated by the Court. Under these rules, Courts will not accept any new unlawful detainer filings, unless it involves “violence, threats of violence, and/or health and safety issues.” For matters involving violence/health/safety, the rules direct parties to first seek a restraining order, and then seek permission from the hearing judge to file an unlawful detainer action. Filings that do not meet the rule’s requirements will be rejected.

B. On April 6, 2020, the California Judicial Council approved an emergency order court rule, effective immediately, that halts all processing of eviction and foreclosure proceedings. The order applies to all California courts and all evictions, regardless of cause, and will remain in effect until 90 days after the Governor’s State of Emergency expires on May 31, 2020, or until amended/repealed by the Judicial Council. The only exceptions are evictions that are found to be necessary for the public health or safety. More details about the emergency rules can be found here.
  • On March 16, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20 to protect residential and commercial tenants as well as homeowners experiencing sudden financial hardship as a result of COVID19. Currently, the Contra Costa County Sheriff and Superior Court have halted evictions during the County’s Shelter in Place Order in effect until April 7, 2020.
  • Additional information regarding tenant protections is available at el-cerrito.org/tenantprotections.

Other Resources



  • Property Tax Relief Related to COVID-19: Contra Costa Treasurer-Tax Collector will allow taxpayers who are financially impacted by COVID-19 to file property taxes late and have their late penalty fee cancelled.
  • Mortgage Payment Relief - some banks and mortgage companies are providing mortgage relief. Check with your mortgage company for details. 

    Governor Newsom's announcement on mortgage relief plan.

  • 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.
  • No Evictions - Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston has announced that consistent with the timeline in the Governor's Executive Order, no commercial or residential eviction orders will be served until May 31, 2020. This "stay" applies to all 19 cities and the unincorporated areas of the County. 

  • 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. Please dial (925) 825-3099 to be screened for assistance.
  • United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Foreclosure Resources: If you are unable to make your mortgage payment, avoid foreclosure by speaking with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Please contact one of the following local agencies: BALANCE 800.777.7526, ECHO Housing 855-ASK-ECHO or Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services 510-237-6459. You can also access the full list here or dial 800-569-4287 to locate a housing counseling agency in your rea.
  • 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
  • COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund-Share for Contra Costa County Residents
    On August 28, 2020, Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services launched the COVID- 19 Rapid Response Fund-Share. The program 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.

Utilities



Bay Area utility providers have voluntarily implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment for both residential and commercial customers, effective immediately and until further notice.
Other Information

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and the Federal Home Loan Banks are taking steps to help people who have been impacted by the coronavirus. Please visit the Federal Housing Financial Agency (FHFA) for more information about Mortgage Help for Homeowners Impacted by the Coronavirus – March 24, 2020.

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.
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