A relief package is being considered – excerpts from the SF Chronicle:
State Senate leaders proposed a massive economic relief package Tuesday to guide California through its coronavirus budget woes by encouraging residents to prepay their future state income taxes and offering struggling tenants more than a decade to make up the rent they owe.
The rent stabilization program would give tax credits to landlords to forgive the rent of tenants who cannot pay because of financial hardships related to the coronavirus, keeping them from being evicted.
The tax credits would be equal to the amount of rent, spread out over 10 years starting in 2024, though landlords who needed immediate cash could sell them to other taxpayers. Tenants would pay back their rent interest-free to the state, also over the course of 10 years starting in 2024. Those who continued to struggle financially would be given exemptions.
Major details of the program, including how many months of rent would be covered, still need to be worked out. But Senate officials said it could benefit about 2.3 million renter households that have at least one worker in a sector of the economy that has seen major job losses during the pandemic. Forgiving that rent would cost the state between $300 million and $500 million annually, if none of it were paid back by tenants.
“This is not a giveaway to anyone. It’s not a free ride,” said Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena (Los Angeles County). “The Senate is giving tenants and landlords a hand up, not a handout.”
The California Apartment Association, which represents owners and developers of rental properties, said it would work with the Senate to refine the proposal.
“During these unprecedented times, we appreciate the Senate pro tem’s creative effort to help tenants and rental property owners,” Tom Bannon, chief executive officer of the apartment association, said in a statement.
Other rent relief proposals that lawmakers have floated include AB828, by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, which would freeze evictions and allow courts to set up repayment plans for tenants, and SB1410 by Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, which would create a fund to cover at least 80% of the rent that a tenant could not afford because of the pandemic, for up to seven months, if the landlord forgives the rest.