Councilmember Scott Sherman discusses his better alternative to a proposed eviction moratorium extension
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to extend the city’s moratorium on commercials and residential evictions until June 30.
The eviction ban, first approved March 25, was set to expire on May 31. It prohibits landlords from evicting renters and small businesses that are unable to pay their rent or lease due to financial hardship brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“With nearly one in three San Diego County residents out of work and small businesses throughout the region still unable to serve customers, we could not let the moratorium on evictions expire,” City Council President Georgette Gomez said. “I thank my colleagues for standing with me to make sure that no one becomes homeless during a public-health crisis, and that our local businesses don’t lose their storefronts due to government safety orders.”
Under the moratorium, renters and small businesses cannot be evicted if they notify their landlord in writing, on or before the day the rent is due, that they are unable to pay. They have one week after notification to provide proof that their financial hardship is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to work out a payment plan on their own.
Councilman Scott Sherman, who cast the sole dissenting vote, said extending the moratorium without further rental assistance was prolonging the inevitable.
“An eviction moratorium extension not only kicks the can down the road, it will ultimately make matters worse for renters, landlords, and the local economy,” he said. “An extension would cause renters to continue stacking up exorbitant debt and puts landlords which are mostly small mom-and- pop operations at risk of defaulting on their properties. A better alternative is to scale up existing rental assistance programs using available funds from the CARES act and Community Development Block Grant funds.”
Those provided relief under the moratorium have until Sept. 25, 2020, to pay any unpaid rent.
“While we have made sure that no one gets evicted at least through the end of June, a rent crisis is looming this fall,” Gomez added. “It will be extraordinarily difficult for many residents and small business to catch up on their payments. That’s why I’ve asked Governor Newsom to implement rent- relief programs statewide to support those affected by COVID-19.”
Sherman joined KUSI News on the phone to discuss the alternative.