San Diego City Council Passes Eviction Moratorium & Small Business Relief

March 25, 2020

A special meeting of the San Diego City Council took place today where the governing body voted unanimously to adopted ordinances that will temporarily ban evictions due to the declared state of emergency from COVID-19, as well as a passing a small business relief package.

The city council adopted an emergency ordinance pursuant to Charter Section 295 enacting a temporary moratorium on evictions due to nonpayment of rent for residential and commercial tenants arising out of a substantial decrease in income or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses resulting from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, or governmental response to COVID -19. The city indicated plans to work with bankers and lenders to halt foreclosures for owners unable to make mortgage payments, as well as an aim to seek local, state, and federal economic aid packages to provide relief to landlords burdened by the eviction moratorium. During the moratorium, the San Diego Housing Commission and its nonprofit affiliate Housing Development Partners are also prohibited from evicting tenants who reside in any of its more than 3,500 commission-controlled affordable apartments.

"I want to thank my council colleagues and the mayor for standing with me and making sure no one loses their home in the middle of a public health emergency and growing economic crisis," concluded Council President Georgette Gómez following the meeting and vote.

To take advantage of relief, tenant must send written notice to landlord explaining loss due to Covid-19 coronavirus and this only applies to rents due after March 12, 2020. The landlord may require tenant to provide documentation. No late fees should be charged during this term if tenant abides by law, but tenant will owe rental amounts once the ordinance is amended or invalidated. The ordinance will last at least to May 31, but could be extended up to 6 months or whenever Governor Newson rescinds his statewide stay-at-home order. Rent will due in full if tenant decides to move and tenant will have up to 6 months to repay rent. It was noted many times that this ordinance established a rent deferral and not rent forgiveness. The San Diego City manager may adopt rules to implement this ordinance.

The council further adopted a Small Business Relief Fund to alleviate negative economic impacts to small businesses due to the COVID-19 virus. Small businesses with under 100 employees will be able to apply once using an application similar to a SBA loan to receive up to a $20,000 loan. Qualifying areas with more low to moderate income residents will be given first priority for loans. This action will authorize expenditure of $550,000 from the Workforce Development Fund and $3,387,285.36 from Community Development Block Grant funding.

This is a developing story: We will update this post as we learn more.