News

Santa Clara County supervisors extend eviction moratorium past Aug. 31

Board plans to decide on expiration date for new ban later this month

On Aug. 11, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to extend a countywide moratorium on residential and commercial evictions beyond Aug. 31. Photo by Magali Gauthier

Amid a ticking "eviction time bomb" in Santa Clara County, the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an extension on the eviction moratorium for both private and commercial tenants.

The moratorium extends protections toward tenants who cannot pay their rent or mortgage because of job or wage loss related to COVID-19 beyond its current expiration on Aug. 31.

However, the exact date for the new eviction ban will be decided at the next Board of Supervisors meeting on Aug. 25 and may include additional protections for tenants and fines for landlords who do violate the moratorium.

"I am favor of extending the moratorium but we can't just be doing this as a Band-Aid solution because it's not going to really do anything in the long run for all of us who are renters and are suffering for not able to pay rent," said Cecilia Chavez, who is an organizer with Silicon Valley De-Bug.

The board echoed similar sentiments, agreeing that the moratorium was a short-term solution aimed to buy the county more time to come up with lasting policies to combat the impending housing crisis.

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A report by Working Partnerships USA found that residents in more than 43,000 rental units in the county were at risk of being evicted once the previous county moratorium was set to expire.

"These really are issues where we need the state and federal government to step up. I used the phrase earlier, 'buying some time.' We have done that, we are continuing to do that, but we need the state and federal government ... to use that time to get to meaningful, longterm solutions to some of those very difficult challenges," Supervisor Joe Simitian said.

A board referral brought by Supervisor Cindy Chavez also asks board members to work with county counsel and local organizations to ensure that the moratorium laws are real and effective for small business tenants.

"Despite the moratorium, some landlords have ignored the law and are trying to force their tenants to defend costly lawsuits," Chavez said.

"We have a lot of property owners who are doing the right thing by people right now, so the intent is not to penalize those who are really trying to support each other getting through this. It is really for the outliers that are taking advantage," Chavez said.

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The Santa Clara County unlawful detainer courtroom, which reviews eviction cases, reopened on Aug. 5, but state laws bar the court from hearing any new cases.

However, landlords can still file new cases and when the statewide eviction moratorium is eventually lifted, the court can resume operations.

"The only cure that is going to happen is people going back to work and there has to be tolerance and understanding from landlords and tenants working together," Supervisor Mike Wasserman said.

"I am all in favor of this extension, I have been in favor of each one prior, but this is a deferral and not a solution. I think what we need is the state to step forward to help solve the problem, not extend the problem by allowing people to go back to work," Wasserman said.

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Santa Clara County supervisors extend eviction moratorium past Aug. 31

Board plans to decide on expiration date for new ban later this month

by /

Uploaded: Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 9:00 am

Amid a ticking "eviction time bomb" in Santa Clara County, the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an extension on the eviction moratorium for both private and commercial tenants.

The moratorium extends protections toward tenants who cannot pay their rent or mortgage because of job or wage loss related to COVID-19 beyond its current expiration on Aug. 31.

However, the exact date for the new eviction ban will be decided at the next Board of Supervisors meeting on Aug. 25 and may include additional protections for tenants and fines for landlords who do violate the moratorium.

"I am favor of extending the moratorium but we can't just be doing this as a Band-Aid solution because it's not going to really do anything in the long run for all of us who are renters and are suffering for not able to pay rent," said Cecilia Chavez, who is an organizer with Silicon Valley De-Bug.

The board echoed similar sentiments, agreeing that the moratorium was a short-term solution aimed to buy the county more time to come up with lasting policies to combat the impending housing crisis.

A report by Working Partnerships USA found that residents in more than 43,000 rental units in the county were at risk of being evicted once the previous county moratorium was set to expire.

"These really are issues where we need the state and federal government to step up. I used the phrase earlier, 'buying some time.' We have done that, we are continuing to do that, but we need the state and federal government ... to use that time to get to meaningful, longterm solutions to some of those very difficult challenges," Supervisor Joe Simitian said.

A board referral brought by Supervisor Cindy Chavez also asks board members to work with county counsel and local organizations to ensure that the moratorium laws are real and effective for small business tenants.

"Despite the moratorium, some landlords have ignored the law and are trying to force their tenants to defend costly lawsuits," Chavez said.

"We have a lot of property owners who are doing the right thing by people right now, so the intent is not to penalize those who are really trying to support each other getting through this. It is really for the outliers that are taking advantage," Chavez said.

The Santa Clara County unlawful detainer courtroom, which reviews eviction cases, reopened on Aug. 5, but state laws bar the court from hearing any new cases.

However, landlords can still file new cases and when the statewide eviction moratorium is eventually lifted, the court can resume operations.

"The only cure that is going to happen is people going back to work and there has to be tolerance and understanding from landlords and tenants working together," Supervisor Mike Wasserman said.

"I am all in favor of this extension, I have been in favor of each one prior, but this is a deferral and not a solution. I think what we need is the state to step forward to help solve the problem, not extend the problem by allowing people to go back to work," Wasserman said.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 9:52 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 9:52 am
6 people like this

I see no report here of an actual extension - only an expression by 5 county supervisors of a current intent to extend. The county board of supervisors ordinarily lacks the legal authority to legislate in this area extending to the various cities. The board's claimed authority stemmed from an order from the Governor which, in turn, stemmed in part from laws passed by the State Legislature many years ago. City councils should be ready to act on eviction moratoriums (aka moratoria) in their cities - at least to forestall unfair RESIDENTIAL EVICTIONS that could begin in early September.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 12, 2020 at 11:56 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 11:56 am
Like this comment

Gary,

I am very confused about this news too, The San Jose Spotlight and CBS news reported that the eviction moratorium was voted on Aug 10, thus it has already been decided. But I also read that a second reading might be necessary to make it official, that is scheduled on Aug 25.

As far as the County authority to order a city to have no evictions, this is also a little confusing. It turns out that Santa Clara County is a Charter County itself. It appears to be on its face neutral regarding the County authority over a city action.

BUT some research I have found says that the County being a Charter County has the same authority over the entire county. This research I found here from the web page California Association of Counties titled “County Structure & Powers” (Web Link) says this as far as authority over cities:

“County Powers

The California Constitution authorizes a county to make and enforce local ordinances that do not conflict with general laws. A county also has the power to sue and be sued, purchase and hold land, manage or dispose of its properties, and levy and collect taxes authorized by law. Many additional powers have been granted to counties by the Legislature. The powers of a county can only be exercised by the Board of Supervisors or through officers acting under the authority of the Board or authority conferred by law. In addition, the Board must follow the procedural requirements in the statutes or its actions will not be valid. For example, if the Legislature has provided a method by which a county may abandon a road, that method must be followed. Also, where state law requires land use zoning by an ordinance, this statutorily prescribed method is binding on the county. On the other hand, where the law does not specifically prescribe a method for accomplishing a task, the county may adopt any reasonably suitable means.”

Thus it looks like the County is using the statement “On the other hand, where the law does not specifically prescribe a method for accomplishing a task, the county may adopt any reasonably suitable means.” Thus as long as there is no law that prohibits a rent eviction moratorium, they have the power to enforce one.

And if the City of Mountain View chooses to not comply, then the County can and will withhold any revenues and funds from the City collected for the Cities purposes by any taxes collected by the County. Thus all property taxes and sales taxes would be lost. Do you really think the City is that insane to bankrupt itself. Of course the City may go to direct billing for property taxes and sales taxes, but their might be a state law that is in play regarding this. So they are prohibited from acting in that way.

I think it is simply a matter of time before we get an absolute clear document of extension now.


Waldo
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 3:13 pm
Waldo, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 3:13 pm
7 people like this

The article says: "The board echoed similar sentiments, agreeing that the moratorium was a short-term solution aimed to buy the county more time to come up with lasting policies to combat the impending housing crisis."

Who is "buying" this time for us? Landlords are "buying" the time, making payments for insurance, property taxes, loan and interest payments, maintenance costs, and so forth, with no moratorium on those expenses. For some landlords, this will be unsustainable, and they will lose everything, becoming yet another victim of this pandemic depression. The county, itself having massive income shortfalls, cannot make the tenants or the landlords whole. In this situation, there are no winners, only losers.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 12, 2020 at 4:20 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 4:20 pm
Like this comment

Waldo,

Those choosing to be in this business should have had adequate business disruption or continuity insurance. Given that we ALL knew about a PANDEMIC risk for decades. What your complaining about is that many of these people cut corners by not having prepared for this problem.

Who is the real blame for this, organizations like the California Apartment Association that did not inform nor provide guidance regarding this risk. That is because the CAA has no experts regarding RISK management on staff nor provided any advisories regarding this practice. Why should they? They are not an educational group, they are a Political Action Committee and a Private Trade Group, nothing more. Al they do is act as political agents and nothing more

Your making complaints to the wrong people here, you should be going after your peers and your trade groups for not preparing you for this.

Landlords are not specially targeted for this disaster, there is currently 5.1 Million people out of work by NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. So you cannot claim the landlords are especially burdened in this situation.

You should be getting the Congress to establish a long term extended and enhanced unemployment insurance plan so that the people out of work can PAY their rent. But you do not want that especially if you can evict those in rent controlled units, thereby achieving vacancy decontrol.

In effect you want to take advantage of COVID to purge the low rent units of their occupants, isn't that the TRUTH?


Waldo
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm
Waldo, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm
5 people like this

@ Stephen Goldstein:

I am not complaining, per se, just observing. I made no comment that landlords are especially burdened. There are no winners, only losers. That includes, you, me, everybody.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 12, 2020 at 6:22 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 6:22 pm
4 people like this

Waldo,

I have been reading article after article where landlords claim they are bearing the total cost of the COVID pandemic impact on the economy.

In fact many landlords and even the CAA in California have been constantly saying this.

So I kind jumped the gun, I am tired of this argument because it clearly is false. And I know I will get it again and again.

So I am sorry about jumping on you so hard, I was just very defensive i admit. That was not fair to you. This is an unconditional apology.

I greatly appreciate that you see the bigger picture and expressed it so well.


Waldo
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 7:17 pm
Waldo, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 7:17 pm
2 people like this

@ Stephen Goldstein:

It takes a strong individual to make the sort of statement you made in your most recent comments. Hopefully, others will emulate your behavior. Thanks for your example.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 12, 2020 at 7:26 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 12, 2020 at 7:26 pm
2 people like this

Waldo,

I wish I am strong. It doesn't take strength if you have self honesty and you listen to others. We have had our differences, but I have also observed your attempts to not make it personal and your sincerity.

So it really makes it easy for me. I know your trying to be constructive.

But I really appreciate you and your efforts. I just hope you have the same experience.


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