Editor’s Note: The following is a reaction to SB 1410 by Senator Anna M. Caballero who represents the 12th Senate District, composed of Merced, Madera, and San Benito Counties, and portions of Fresno, Monterey, and Stanislaus Counties.
Last week, the Assembly Judiciary Committee passed out of committee SB 1410, the Senate’s priority legislation to protect renters from evictions and provide financial relief to landlords with mortgages and maintenance bills to pay.
Before the pandemic, California renters and homeowners were already burdened by the high cost of living in California. In fact, over half of Californians are housing poor, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income for housing. California’s housing crisis has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, since the shelter in place order forced many into unemployment. Now, many people at risk of losing their housing for non-payment of rent. This is why the Legislature must act in order to protect vulnerable renters from evictions, when the state eviction moratorium is lifted in September.
SB 1410 creates a process for renters and landlords to enter into an agreement to forgive past due rent, in order to keep people housed during this crisis. If a landlord and tenant come to an agreement on the amount of rent forgiveness, the landlord cannot proceed with an eviction. In exchange for entering into this agreement, the landlord will earn a tax credit for the total amount of rent forgiven. Tenants have three years before repayment of the forgiven rent begins, so that they can economically recover from the pandemic and the economy can regain its growth rate. Certain individuals may qualify for complete rent forgiveness based on a financial hardship and defined income thresholds.
I am proud to author SB 1410 with my colleague Senator Steven Bradford, and other members of the Senate. We are working with all stakeholders to ensure that renters are protected and landlords have quick access to the benefits provided under this bill. I look forward to the working my colleagues in the Assembly and the Governor to ensure that by the time the legislative session is over the Legislature has delivered a bill to protect renters and property owners alike.
Additional Comments from Co-Author Senator Bradford:
“COVID-19 has devastated households across our state,” said Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). “We as a legislative and governing body cannot afford to do nothing. The Legislature must act on relief for struggling tenants and landlords. We saw during the Great Recession what happens if we do not step in to assist the most vulnerable. Senator Caballero and I are actively working with our colleagues in the Legislature, as well as the Governor, to craft an initial solution to this crisis. SB 1410 has strong foundations in its approach to solving this urgent problem, and I look forward to continuing these discussions.”