COVID-19 Resources for Homeowners and Renters

HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS


Recent Legislative Actions
  • 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 May 31, 2020, consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order, unless extended through a future action. 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.City staff is currently working to develop. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that will be posted on this website in the coming days.
  • 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.
  • On March 4, 2020 Governor Newsom declared a statewide emergency as a result of the COVID-19. During this state of emergency, under CA Penal Code Section 396, it is illegal to increase the costs of housing, gas, food and other essential supplies more than 10% for 180 days following the date of declaration. Violations of this law may include fines and other civil penalties. For more information, please visit the California Office of the Attorney General Office, Price Gouging in California – Frequently Asked Questions or California Legislative Information - California Penal Code Section 396.
  • Additional information regarding tenant protections is available at el-cerrito.org/tenantprotections.

Other Resources



  • 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

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.