SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses located in the unincorporated area in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The policy, which was put forward in a resolution sponsored by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Kristin Gaspar, will give authority to the county's chief administrative officer to work with financial institutions to halt foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions; and allow the county Housing Authority to extend the deadline for recipients, including those who receive Section 8 support.
Fletcher said the proposal will provide relief for four months, up to May 31. The protections are provided retroactively to March 4, when Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency over the pandemic.
Fletcher said the resolution "is a prudent step to protect folks in a period of economic distress."
The supervisors voted remotely, abiding by the social distancing guidelines established by health officials to prevent further spread of the virus. County staff members, including Chief Executive Officer Helen-Robbins- Meyer, were in board chambers but kept their distance from one another.
The county resolution does include one change, in terms of the amount of time renters have to inform their landlord about their economic situation, from 15 days to one week.
Gaspar said that change will align the county with the city of San Diego's policy. She said that as a land owner and tenant, she's "sensitive to all sides of this proposal."
"I believe we need to give the most vulnerable the tools they need," she added.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob said while she fully supported the resolution, it was also important to protect landlords, and that she wanted to hear from rental property owners in her district. However well-intended, there can be unintended consequences from such a proposal to help renters, Jacob said.
Before approving the resolution, supervisors heard from residents, most of whom were in favor.
Real estate and property owner representatives said while they support relief for people in financial distress, it was also important to work with renters who could afford to pay. Mitch Thompson, of the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors, said the resolution could impact between $2.5 billion and $3 billion in rental income, and affect people like him and his wife. Thompson said they are retired, and rely on property income.
He added that he didn't know if the county had "sat down with any property owners" before crafting the proposal. "I don't want to see anyone out on the street, either," Thompson said, adding the county should work to improve the resolution.
Residents who offered input participated via an online meeting program or sent email comments.