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Posted on: April 2, 2020

Tenants Who Cannot Afford Rent Due to COVID-19 Are Protected from Eviction

City & County Ban Evictions for Non-Payment of Rent Due to COVID-19

In response to the hardships many in our community are facing due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and the Shelter in Place Order, moratoriums have been adopted to ban residential and commercial evictions in the City of San Mateo.

The San Mateo City Council and County Board of Supervisors have each adopted emergency ordinances that prohibit evictions for nonpayment of rent by current tenants who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Between the County and City ordinances, renters of any type of residential property, and small businesses tenants are protected in the City of San Mateo. The ordinances allow for a deferral, not a waiver of rents.

The San Mateo City Council adopted an emergency ordinance, imposing a ban covering commercial evictions with an expectation the County would act to address residential evictions. The County Board of Supervisors placed a moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent that applies throughout the cities and towns of San Mateo County.

The ordinances require landlords to notify tenants of the moratorium before attempting to take any action to evict a tenant. The City has a noticing form for commercial properties, and the County has forms in English, Spanish and Chinese for residential properties.

The City of San Mateo has a robust community of small businesses, and nearly half of its residents are renters. The moratoriums took effect immediately and continue during the City’s and County’s emergency proclamations.

Key features of the ordinances are:

  • During the local emergency landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants who are unable to pay rent due to a financial hardship caused by COVID-19
  • Tenants must notify their landlord and demonstrate a connection to COVID-19
  • Protections would apply to nonprofits, and commercial tenants with annual gross receipts of less than $25 million
  • Tenants are still required to pay back rent, and may have up to 6 months after the emergency is lifted

Resources: 

The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County helps low income individuals who need legal assistance, and can be contacted at www.legalaidsmc.org/ or (650) 517-8911.

Project Sentinel provides information and offers dispute resolution options for any tenant or landlord. Project Sentinel can be reached: https://www.housing.org/ or 650-399-2149 or email info@housing.org.

The City is unable to provide legal advice. We maintain a list of resources offered by nonprofits in the community through our Housing Division.

The County of San Mateo provides information on resources and its moratorium on it’s Housing Department COVID-19 web page.

We will continue to provide updates about COVID-19 at www.cityofsanmateo.org/coronavirus 

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