Can I be evicted if I can’t pay rent because of COVID-related hardships?
Currently, your landlord cannot legally evict you for not paying your rent as long as:
- you turn in a signed declaration that you couldn’t pay because of decreased income or increased expenses due to COVID-19, and
- you pay 25% of rent you owe since September 2020 by June 30, 2021 or your landlord agrees to accept payments through a financial assistance program.
How do the financial assistance programs work?
If your landlord agrees to accept the payments, the State may be able to pay up to 80% of the unpaid rent as long as the landlord agrees to excuse the remainder.
If your landlord does not agree to accept payments through the repayment program, the state may be able to pay the 25% due on June 30 on your behalf.
What about the other 75% of the rent I haven’t been able to pay?
You will still owe the full amount of the rent to your landlord. But you cannot be evicted from your home if you comply with the declaration and 25% payment or rent forgiveness requirements listed above.
You should keep careful track of what you have paid and any amount you still owe to protect your rights and avoid future disputes.
Failure to respond to notices from your landlord may result in an unlawful detainer action (eviction) being filed against you.
I got eviction papers from my landlord—what do I do?
Your landlord may still be able to legally evict you for reasons other than nonpayment of rent.
If your landlord serves you with eviction papers, please contact us for further screening or seek other legal help immediately.
Where do I get a declaration?
If your landlord gives you a notice saying that you failed to pay rent, your landlord should also give you a blank copy of a COVID-related financial distress declaration that you can complete and return to them.
You can also find a copy of the declaration online: landlordtenant.dre.ca.gov/tenant/forms.html
When do I turn in a declaration?
Your landlord may require you to turn in a new declaration for each rental payment you do not pay that comes due between September 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
You can deliver your declaration to your landlord by hand delivery, US mail, email if landlord provides you one, or in the manner you normally pay rent.
Why are declarations important?
It is very important to provide your landlord with declarations in response to each 15-day notice they send you if you can’t pay any rent payments due between September 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
If you do, your landlord cannot legally evict you for not paying rent if you or the state pays 25% of all the rent you owe from September 2020 through June 2021 on or before June 30, 2021, or if your landlord accepts past-due rent payments through the state’s financial assistance program.
Am I eligible for financial assistance?
The State of California, in partnership with federal and local governments, has created an emergency financial assistance program to assist renters who have been unable to pay their rent and utility bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This program may be able to help you get caught up with past-due rent
- Depending on the availability of funds, and if you qualify based on your income, the program may also be able to assist you with making future rental payments.
- You can apply regardless of your citizenship or immigration status.