Housing – COVID-19 Issues

Last updated May 7, 2021


UPDATE: On January 28, 2021, Governor Newsom signed legislation to assist California renters and landlords.

  1. An extension of the state’s eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021.
  2. $2.6 billion in rental relief.


On December 27, 2020, two types of relief for renters were signed into law to benefit renters nationwide. Click here to learn more details about this relief.

  1. $25 billion for emergency rental assistance . The funds will be distributed by the U.S. Department of Treasury to states and local governments in 2021.
  2. An extension of the CDC’s eviction moratorium until at least March 31, 2021. This means the protections last beyond the CDC’s original expiration date of December 31, 2020.


There is a lot of information about restrictions on evictions in California due to COVID-19. This short article provides an overview of how different state, federal, and local laws and rules work together. Additionally, the San Francisco Law Library published an informational video on January 27, 2021 that helps to explain various renter and landlord protections.




Update: This article (updated 1/11/2021) from Procopio highlights what California residential landlords need to be familiar with about the California Relief Act (AB 3088).


On October 5, 2020, a new state law on evictions allows landlords to start filing residential eviction cases for failure to pay rent or other financial obligations. This law provides protections for renters who are given an eviction notice because they are unable to pay their rent or other charges between March 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021, due to COVID-19-related financial distress. To read more about this update and new forms, check out this page of the California Court’s website.


There are also federal protections in place and many cities and counties have local ordinances that were developed to extend special protections to renters during the COVID-19 emergency.


On August 31, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill No. 3088 under which no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021 as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020, if the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation’s timelines. For a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due to avoid eviction. For more, check out this resource.


Here is a link to Assembly Bill No. 3088.


An interactive guide to protections for landlords and tenants under the California Tenants Relief Act of 2020 is available here.


Are you a tenant looking for help to explain to your landlord that your are having trouble paying your rent because of COVID-19 / Coronavirus? One tool that can help is The website has sample letters you can use and modify to explain your situation to your landlord.

Are you a landlord looking for resources? Check out San Diego Law Library’s Landlord Tenant Self Help Center.


City of San Diego:

Has passed an ordinance to provide an eviction moratorium. Tenants are still responsible for rent and landlord will be able to recover owed rent at a later time. On June 30, 2020, this ordinance was extended to September 30, 2020.

On January 26, 2021, the City Council approved legislation that protects tenants in San Diego once state and federal protections have expired.


The City of San Diego voted to extend rent payment period for tenants struggled with COVID-19 till Dec. 30, 2020, but still needs a second vote. Read more here.



The County of of San Diego has an up to date listing of all the rental assistance programs throughout the region, viewable here.

City of San Diego Rental Assistance

The City of San Diego has created a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. There is an online application you can access here. The deadline has passed, but you may visit this page to join the wait list for rental assistance.

San Diego County Rental Assistance Payments

Starting March 2, 2021 renters throughout the San Diego region will be able to apply for additional rental and utility assistance:

As of December 1, 2020, the County of San Diego is accepting applications for up to $3000 in rental assistance from qualifying households that have experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19. Applications will be accepted until the funding runs out:

On August 17, 2020, the City of Vista announced a rental assistance program for tenants impacted by COVID-19. You can read more about the program here.


On July 24, 2020 San Diego Law Library hosted the webinar Landlord Tenant Law Update. The recording is viewable below, and on our YouTube channel.

Video Resource Tutorials

Other Local/City Resources

Here is an informational sheet and a sample letter to write to your landlord if you’re having difficulty paying your agreed-upon rent.

San Diego Housing Commission has a variety of resources.


County of San Diego:

Do you have questions about your landlord’s actions during the COVID-19 outbreak? The San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program is still available to assist with your landlord-tenant issues. You can contact them at 619-235-5656, ext. 127.


The San Diego Legal Aid Society has put together guidance about San Diego City and County’s Emergency Rules relating to Evictions and Landlords.  The Legal Aid Society of San Diego can help with eviction matters. Visit their website or call their hotline 877-534-2524.


Additionally, if you are either a landlord or a tenant, the San Diego Volunteer Law Program can answer your questions by calling 619-235-5656 x127. Their Tenant Rights Clinic is also available to answer your tenant questions at 760-429-6304.



Overview of Protections by County or City

The San Diego Legal Aid Society has put together guidance about California Judicial Council’s Emergency Rules relating to Evictions and Landlords.


This is a collection of protections in many counties or cities in California. It is not alphabetical so you’ll have to scan for your city or county. It was last updated April 4, 2020.


The California Lawyer’s Association prepared a video with an overview of California’s Eviction Moratorium. To see additional videos on this topic, visit their website.


CARES Act Protections:

Under section 4024 of the CARES Act, for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020, lessors of “covered dwellings” cannot file a court action for an eviction or charge additional fees for nonpayment of rent if their dwelling is secured by a federally backed mortgage or participates in various federal programs.


Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

Webpage with updates on federal housing programs in light of the coronavirus.

March 18 2020 – HUD suspends all foreclosures and issues an eviction moratorium for 60 days for anyone with a FHA-insured mortgage. See the article for full information. This has been extended to August 31. There is a more complete description of various protections and time periods here.

On July 8 2020 HUD announced an eviction prevention and stability toolkit, available here.



Are you having trouble paying your mortgage because of COVID-19 / Coronavirus, but you’re not sure how to talk to your lender? One tool that can help is The website has sample letters you

The National Consumer Law Center released a new chapter on homeowners rights for free. Check it out here.

UPDATE December 23, 2020 from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau: Mortgage relief deadlines have been expended for mortgages backed by federal government agencies or the government sponsored agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Read more about the protections here.



Many banks are waiving mortgage payments for up to 90 days for California residents who have been directly impacted by COVID-19. The banks include Wells Fargo, US Bank, Citi, and JP Morgan Chase. Bank of America has instituted a 30-day waiver which can be extended. Check here for more information about programs from hundreds of banks.


CARES Act Protections:

The CARES Act created important protections for owners of 1 to 4 properties as well those who own 5 or more properties.


Are you having trouble paying your mortgage due to events related to COVID-19? Do you have questions about whether the CARES Act can help you? The National Consumer Law Center has put together a help page to help answer your questions about both the CARES Act and other programs. In September, new rights for homeowners exiting forbearance were announced.


They have also put together an overview of options if you are facing a foreclosure.



Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

They have created a in-depth guide to possible mortgage relief options if you’re having trouble with your mortgage due to COVID-19.




San Diego County’s Tax Collector announced that tax payers who could not pay their second property tax installment on time due to issues related to COVID-19 can request to have their penalty cancelled. Under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May 6 executive order, certain property owners directly affected by COVID-19 have until May 6, 2021, to file a special COVID-19 penalty cancellation request. To see details about qualifying, read the announcement here and check out the application and instructions here.



The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) has prepared a resource guide covering COVID-19 Updates and Resources. See section on Housing, Debt, and Consumer Issues.


From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Know your rights as a renter facing eviction