Are Governments Protecting Renters During the Pandemic?
Sandra Silva, the directing attorney of California Rural Legal Assistance’s Watsonville office, says local filings began to pile up in the days after the city’s ban expired, and will come due when the state’s Judicial Council’s protections are lifted. None of Silva’s clients were served notices during the moratorium, she says.
“Even though they can’t go forward [with the eviction] right now and get into court, having an unlawful detainer filed against you and being served with court papers is extremely stressful during this time,” Silva says.
Silva says the rise in eviction notices resulted directly from the moratorium’s expiration and adds that some landlords have brazenly tried to evict renters that were hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and do not understand their rights.
“Landlords are saying things like, ‘You need to be out tomorrow,’ or ‘You need to be out at the end of the month.’ None of that is legal in the best-case scenario, let alone in the moratorium. Some of our clients, sadly, say, ‘OK, fine, I’ll just go’ when they don’t have to, and there is nowhere to go,” Silva says.
More than half of WLC clients are still unemployed and have not been able to pay rent in the past two months, Melgoza says. Most landlords have been understanding of—and sticking to—the six-month payback period, but some have not.