Frequently asked questions:
IS THERE STILL AN EVICTION MORATORIUM?
The state allowed most pandemic covid eviction protections to expire. That being said, some protections are permanent. For example, depending on your circumstances, if you owe rent between March 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, you may be protected from eviction for non-payment from this period.
Certain cities and counties also passed local covid-related eviction protections. Most of these protections are no longer active. However, some cities and counties gave tenants additional time to pay pandemic-related rent or made it so tenants cannot be evicted for pandemic rent under certain situations. For example, Los Angeles and Alameda County tenants may have lasting protections for covid-related non-payment of rent debt. Local laws differ depending on where you live, so getting specific information about your city is important. As of today, no city or county in California has a moratorium that allows tenants to not pay rent going forward.
Call your city or county housing department or legal aid agency and ask them if any remaining covid protections are in place in your city or County.
I LIVE IN BERKELEY, OAKLAND, SAN LEANDRO, OR SAN FRANCISCO; IS MY MORATORIUM STILL IN EFFECT?
The Alameda County Eviction Moratorium is now over. However, there are lasting protections for tenants who cannot pay rent accrued between March 24, 2020, and April 29, 2023. Be sure to communicate with your landlord about your covid-related reasons for non-payment in case you need to assert these protections in court. While the Alameda County Moratorium may protect you, your landlord can still take you to court, where you may need to prove your entitlement to the protections.
For legal support in Alameda County, contact AC Housing Secure.
For legal support in San Francisco, contact the Eviction Defense Collaborative.
I got a three-day notice to pay rent or quit
If a landlord wants to evict a tenant who has not paid rent, they usually start by giving the tenant a Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit before filing the court case. These notices are not from the court and look different depending on the landlord. The notice may look something like this. If the landlord drafts the notice correctly, it will tell you how much money you owe and that you must pay it in three days or move out. The notice should also give you instructions on how to pay the rent, for example, by mail or in person.
If you received a 3-day notice, owe the rent, and can pay it, make sure that you pay within the three days and can prove that you paid. For example, you can take a video if you pay in person. If you pay by mail, take a picture of your check or money order before you send it and send it by certified mail. Be sure to follow the payment instructions written on the three-day notice.
At this stage, we also recommend taking pictures and video of any bad conditions in your home that your landlord has not fixed: any issues with your walls, floors, doors, windows, leaks, mold, infestation, or anything else your landlord has not fixed. You may need this as evidence if your landlord goes to court.
My landlord filed an eviction lawsuit against me in court
If your landlord files a court case, they will present you with a packet of papers called the Unlawful Detainer Summons and Complaint. It usually looks like this.
Once you get the Summons and Complaint, you have five days to file a document called an Answer in court. The five days do not include the day you are handed the packet, weekends, and court holidays. If you do not file the Answer in time, you can automatically lose the case, so it is very important to meet this deadline.
To find an attorney to help you with your eviction case, we recommend that you go to https://www.lsc.gov/about-lsc/what-legal-aid/get-legal-help
If you cannot find an attorney to help you within the five days, you can create your own answer using the Tenant Power Toolkit and file it with the court. If you are eligible, the tenant power toolkit will also prepare a fee waiver so you will not need to pay to file your answer.
I’m still waiting for rental assistance
The first step is to check whether you applied to the state program (Housing is Key) or a local program run by your city or county.
The State Program - Housing is Key
If you applied to Housing is Key, we recommend logging into the online system once a week to check your application status. The state program will often ask for additional documents and may deny you if you do not respond quickly, even if you have not heard from them in months.
You can log into the state program at https://hornellp-ca.neighborlysoftware.com/CaliforniaCovid19RentRelief. If you need help logging in or with your application, you can call the hotline at 833-430-2122.
If you are denied or do not receive all of the assistance you applied for, you have the right to appeal within 30 days of the denial date. We recommend that you look at the reason that you were denied and decide if you have any additional documentation you can submit with a written description of why you believe you were wrongfully denied. The appeal link is here: https://horne2.outsystemsenterprise.com/RAP_California/AppealRegistrationEntry.aspx. Once you fill in your email and case ID, they will email you a link to the appeal system.
If you are approved but want to add additional months for rental assistance and you have not been approved for 18 months total of assistance, you can add more. To do that, you must submit an appeal using the processes above, stating that you want to add additional months.
Local Programs - City or County
If you applied to a local rent assistance program, we recommend periodically calling the program to check your application status. If you have a login and password for your application, you may also be able to log into the local system to check the application status. We recommend checking in frequently to see if the program wants any additional documentation - they may deny you if they ask for more documents and do not hear back from you very quickly.
If you are denied or do not receive all the assistance you applied for, you have the right to appeal. If your denial letter does not tell you how to appeal, ask the program how to submit a written appeal. We recommend that you look at the reason that you were denied and decide if you have any additional documentation you can submit with a written description of why you think you were wrongfully denied.
I RECEIVED RENTAL ASSISTANCE. CAN I BE EVICTED?
You cannot legally be evicted for not paying rent that a rent relief agency has paid for you. However, you can potentially be evicted for other months of rent that the rent relief agency did not pay. Many tenants believe that they received more rent relief than they actually did. If your landlord says you owe rent, you should contact the agency that provided the rent relief to see which months they paid.
AM I PROTECTED BY RENT CONTROL OR JUST CAUSE FOR EVICTION PROTECTIONS UNDER STATE OR LOCAL LAW?
To see if you qualify for state or local protections, visit TenantProtections.org. You should also call your local housing department to see if you are covered by any additional local protections.
I GOT A RENT INCREASE. IS IT LAWFUL?
Go to TenantProtections.org to check whether your property is subject to state or local rent caps.
I HAVE RECEIVED A NO-FAULT EVICTION NOTICE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You can look for an attorney for advice about your notice here: https://www.lsc.gov/about-lsc/what-legal-aid/get-legal-help. You can also contact your local rent board or housing department if you have one. Please remember that there are no “verbal eviction notices” and that a legal notice must be presented to you on a piece of paper.
WHO SHOULD I CONTACT IF MY RENTAL UNIT NEEDS REPAIRS?
Your landlord is the first person you should contact. Ask for repairs in writing through an email, text message, or rental portal. Keep a copy for yourself. If your landlord refuses to accept your written request, send your landlord or property manager a letter through certified mail.
HOW DO I REQUEST REPAIRS THROUGH A LETTER?
There are no magic words that you need to say to request repairs. Just be sure that your letter has the date and the issues in your unit. If you asked for the repair before, you can say something like, “I am writing to follow up on the conversation we had last month about the broken window” Be sure to keep a signed and dated copy of your letter and your mailing receipt. You can use the example here to notify your landlord of issues.
WHAT IF MY LANDLORD DOESN'T MAKE REPAIRS AFTER RECEIVING MY LETTER?
If your landlord refuses to make repairs, you should contact your Code Enforcement department. If you live in Sacramento County, You can make a written complaint to code enforcement and connect with an ACCE Tenant Organizer through ACCE’s code enforcement tool. Otherwise, you should contact your local housing department to obtain the number for your local code enforcement agency. All cities are required to have a department that will inspect tenants’ units.
WILL MY LANDLORD RAISE MY RENT OR TRY TO EVICT ME IF I ASK FOR REPAIRS?
In California, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against you for asking for repairs or contacting code enforcement. This is why it is important to have all your complaints in writing so that if your landlord tries to evict you, they can’t claim that you did not complain. While some landlords do illegally retaliate, these same landlords often attempt to raise rents or evict even when you do not request repairs. A tenant with these slumlords may be more protected by making legal complaints (which trigger retaliation protections) instead of remaining silent. While failing to report serious issues can also result in legal problems with landlords.
Our statewide hotline is also 1-888-428-7615.
ACCE Tenant Clinics
ACCE - Statewide
Every Thursday Conducted in English and Spanish, 6:30 PM
ACCE - San Diego
Every Tuesday, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
ACCE - Los Angeles
Every Tuesday, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Conducted in Spanish, translated into English
Zoom Meeting ID: 883 2443 4157
Every Thursday, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Conducted in English, translated into Spanish
ACCE - Contra Costa
Every third Wednesday of the month, 6:00 PM