Nor Cal Rental Property Association

COVID-19 Rental Assistance & Eviction Compliance (SB 91)

Quick Guide: 

  • Send Notice of Info Tenant Relief Act/Rental Assistance Program (F650) no late than February 28, 2021. 
  • Use updated 15-Day Notice to Pay or Quit effective February 1.
  • Send Declaration of COVID-19 Related Financial Distress with Pay or Quit Notice. 
  • No late fees or new fees on services previously provided at no cost. 
  • No applying rental payments to past due amounts. 
  • COVID-19 rental debt cannot be used as factor to deny a rental application. 
  • Housing provider does not have to reduce/credit rent for compliance with health order (i.e., pool or gym closure).
  • Just Cause termination applies immediately regardless of length of tenancy.
  • Fact Sheet on AB 80/SB 91 

Emergency Rental Assistance Programs

Nor Cal RPA covers 12 counties; San Joaquin, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo

For information on how to apply for rental properties within these counties, please click here.

Important SB 91 Deadlines: 

  • On or before February 28, 2021, a housing provider must provide, in at least 12-point type, specific notice to any resident who as of February 1, 2021, has not paid one or more rental payments that came due during between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. 
  • This means owners and managers need to send all residents with rental debt between March 2020 and February 1, 2021 Form F650 no later than February 28, 2021.
  • All 15 Day Notices have been updated with the required language. Please make sure you are using these updated forms from our website https://norcalrpa.org . Log in with your user ID and password then click on Covid Forms in your Member Portal Page.  
  • COVID-19 rental debt may be pursued August 1, 2021 (changed from March 1).

No COVID-19-Related Evictions Until June 30, 2021   

  • Tenant cannot be evicted for a COVID-19 related hardship that accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020 if tenant returns declaration of hardship under penalty of perjury.
  • Tenant cannot be evicted for a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 if tenant returns declaration of hardship under penalty of perjury and pays at least 25% of the rent due.   
  • The tenant may pay you 25% EACH MONTH OR can pay a LUMP SUM equaling at least 25% of the total rent they owe for this period so long as they have paid you this amount by June 30, 2021.
  • Higher income tenants (over $100K household income or over 130% of median household income, whichever is higher) must provide documentation to support their declaration upon a landlord’s request.   
  • Applies to all residential tenants (including mobile home tenants), regardless of immigration status.  
  • Evictions to protect health and safety will be allowed.    
  • Evictions that began prior to March 1, 2020 may proceed.     
  • In order to evict a renter on or after February 1, 2021, property owners must give a 15-day written notice (not including weekends and judicial holidays).
  • Limits attorneys’ fees awarded to prevailing parties in certain cases.  

Tenants Still Responsible for Paying Unpaid Amounts to Landlords

  • So long as the tenant with COVID-19 related hardship follows the bill’s procedures, any unpaid rent due between March 4, 2020 – June 30, 2021 is not a ground/basis for eviction but is still owed to the landlord as a form of consumer debt.   
  • Small claims court jurisdiction is temporarily expanded to allow landlords to recover these amounts.   
  • Landlords may begin to recover this debt on August 1, 2021.  

Additional Legal and Financial Protections for Tenants   

  • Extends notice period for nonpayment of rent from 3 to 15 days to provide tenant additional time to respond to landlord’s notice to pay rent or quit.
  • Requires landlords to provide hardship declaration forms in a different language if rental agreement was negotiated in a different language.   
  • Provides tenants a backstop if they have a good reason for failing to return the hardship declaration within 15 days.   
  • Requires landlords to provide tenants a notice detailing their rights under the Act.   
  • Limits public disclosure (“masking”) of eviction cases involving nonpayment of rent between March 4, 2020 – June 30, 2021.   
  • Housing provider may not apply a security deposit to satisfy COVID-19 rental debt, unless the tenant has agreed, in writing, to allow the deposit to be so applied. Nothing shall prohibit a landlord from applying a security deposit to satisfy COVID-19 rental debt after the tenancy ends. 
  • Housing provider may not apply a monthly rental payment to any COVID-19 rental debt other than the prospective month’s rent unless the tenant has agreed in writing. 
  • A housing provider, tenant screening company, or other entity that evaluates tenants on behalf of a housing provider shall not use an alleged COVID-19 rental debt, as that term is defined in Section 1179.02, as a negative factor for the purpose of evaluating a prospective housing application or as the basis for refusing to rent a dwelling unit to an otherwise qualified prospective tenant.

No Late Fees or New Fees 

  • 1942.9. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a landlord shall not, with respect to a tenant who has COVID-19 rental debt, as that term is defined in Section 1179.02 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and who has submitted a declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress, as that term is defined in Section 1179.02, do either of the following:
    • (1) Charge a tenant, or attempt to collect from a tenant, fees assessed for the late payment of that COVID-19 rental debt. 
    • (2) Increase fees charged to the tenant or charge the tenant fees for services previously provided by the landlord without charge.

Properties who must comply with state or local health orders and close amenities like pools or gyms, are not considered to have violated the rental agreement. 

  • Notwithstanding any other law, a landlord who temporarily reduces or makes unavailable a service or amenity as the result of compliance with federal, state, or local public health orders or guidelines shall not be considered to have violated the rental or lease agreement, nor to have provided different terms or conditions of tenancy or reduced services for purposes of any law, ordinance, rule, regulation, or initiative measure adopted by a local governmental entity that establishes a maximum amount that a landlord may charge a tenant for rent. (Civil Code 1942.9. (b) ) 

Just Cause and Other Provisions (1179.03.5.): Just Cause is in place immediately for all rental properties in most cases. Substantial remodel as cause is temporarily limited as is cause relating to sale of a property.  

Before July 1, 2021, a court may not find a tenant guilty of an unlawful detainer unless it finds that one of the following applies:  

  • (1) The tenant was guilty of the unlawful detainer before March 1, 2020.  
  • (2) In response to service of a notice demanding payment of COVID-19 rental debt pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 798.56 of the Civil Code or paragraph (2) or (3) of Section 1161, the tenant failed to comply with the requirements of Section 1179.03.  
  • (3) (A) The unlawful detainer arises because of a termination of tenancy for any of the following:  
    • (i) An at-fault just cause, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code.  
    • (ii) (I) A no-fault just cause, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code, other than intent to demolish or to substantially remodel the residential real property, as defined in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2. 
      • (II) Notwithstanding subclause (I), termination of a tenancy based on intent to demolish or to substantially remodel the residential real property shall be permitted if necessary, to maintain compliance with the requirements of Section 1941.1 of the Civil Code, Section 17920.3 or 17920.10 of the Health and Safety Code, or any other applicable law governing the habitability of residential rental units.  
      • (iii) The owner of the property has entered into a contract for the sale of that property with a buyer who intends to occupy the property, and all the requirements of paragraph (8) of subdivision (e) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code have been satisfied.  
  • This section does not require a landlord to assist the tenant to relocate through the payment of relocation costs if the landlord would not otherwise be required to do so pursuant to Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code or any other law.
  • A landlord who is required to assist the tenant to relocate pursuant to Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code or any other law, may offset the tenant’s COVID-19 rental debt against their obligation to assist the tenant to relocate.  
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