San Leandro joined a growing list of Alameda County in passing tenant protections for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The city council unanimously approved an urgency moratorium at a special meeting on Monday night on evictions for residential and commercial renters due to a loss of income stemming from the crisis.
The moratorium is effective immediately and runs through May 31. It also covers mobile home owners, a sizable, often low-income and senior population of renters in San Leandro.
“We need to do something because we’re really just at the tip of the iceberg right now,” San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter said. “We’re going to find a lot of people are going to be in a world of hurt and we’re trying to find ways to fairly help people.”
The urgency moratorium originally called for tenants to repay their landlords within 90 days after the state’s declaration of emergency is lifted.
Councilmember Deborah Cox worried the three-month period would be too short and called for extending it longer. “I want to truly believe that these jobs are going to come back and our economy is going to come back and people are going to want to stay in their homes and they’re not going to wait even 90 days to pay this back if they can.”
The council agreed and approved a time frame for paying back full or partial rents for 120 days. If the crisis persists longer, tenants can provide documentation that the coronavirus has continued to impact their ability to pay rent. In these cases, the payback period can be extended to 180 days.
Under the ordinance, tenants are required to notify their landlords of their inability to pay their rent with in 10 days.
Monday night’s council meeting for the first session to occur since social distancing and shelter in place protocals were enacted.
Five of the seven San Leandro councilmembers attended the meeting via teleconferencing, including Mayor Cutter, who is still recuperating from knee replacement surgery. Vice Mayor Pete Ballew presided over the Monday’s special meeting, and Councilmember Corina Lopez wore a white surgical mask and latex gloves.