Senator Cortese’s Statement on California’s Eviction Moratorium Extension and Rent Relief Measures

Senator Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley) made the following statement regarding the Senate’s vote on SB 91 today. This bill will extend the eviction moratorium in California through June 30, 2021 and distribute $2.6 billion in renter aid from the latest federal stimulus package.

Intended to replace the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, under SB 91, federal funds will be used to pay up to 80% of back rent accumulated from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2021 to landlords on the condition that they waive the remaining 20% and agree not to pursue eviction. Distribution of this aid will begin in March of this year.

“I whole heartedly support the extension of California’s eviction moratorium. With renters across our state struggling to stay housed during this pandemic, it is clear that we must be proactive in addressing these issues, so we aren’t faced with a scenario that further exacerbates our problems in the future.

“However, I am very concerned with the roll out of this funding. While it is imperative that we take action to get federal relief money out the door to protect our most vulnerable, we must understand the full scope of this problem and ensure these funds will reach our most disadvantaged communities in the state. We have a responsibility to do this right so that nobody is left behind.

“To avoid crippling debt and mass evictions, we must create a backstop to ensure tenants or landlords that don’t receive adequate funding don’t fall through the cracks. Tenant-landlord mediation services can act as this safety net and must be part of the equation. A lifeline to both landlords and tenants, mediation is necessary to bring parties together and resolve contentious situations relating to arrearage.

“To this end, I’d like to thank my colleagues on the Senate Budget Committee and Chair, Senator Nancy Skinner for including in our proposed State Rental Assistance Program my idea for a statewide multilingual call-center to answer questions and provide direct technical support to landlord and tenants over the phone to help ensure that no one goes unhoused. For those landlords and tenants that lack internet access, this call center will be essential in helping them access the services they may need.”

For more information, contact Tara Sreekrishnan, Office of Senator Dave Cortese, at 408 480 7833 or