Resources and News for Tenants During the COVID-19 Emergency
Tenant Protections During the COVID-19 Emergency
[Updated 4/23/2020 @ 1:15pm]
A number of temporary measures to protect tenants during the public health emergency have been enacted at state, county, and city levels. Making sense of this patchwork of overlapping, sometimes contradictory legislation and policy can be challenging. BayLegal recommends that tenants:
- Consult our “How-To” guide below, for essential first steps to protect yourself if you are having trouble paying rent during the emergency.
- Understand some of the essential information about tenant protections during the state of emergency by consulting these two useful Q&A resources:
- This Q&A produced by BayLegal’s housing attorneys covering a range of renters’ rights topics during the pandemic.
- This story, published by the San Jose Mercury News on April 14, 2020, which quotes housing law attorneys including BayLegal’s Hilda Chan. (The Mercury News’ coronavirus-related coverage is being made available free of charge during the state of emergency).
- Call our Legal Advice Line at 1-(800) 551-5554, or (if you are an Alameda County resident) our Tenants Rights Line at 1-(888) 382-3405, to speak to an attorney about your housing issue.
How to Protect Yourself If You Can’t Pay Rent On-Time During the Emergency
Despite what the headlines say there is NO statewide eviction moratorium.
The best way to protect yourself is to pay your rent on time if you can.
If you can’t pay your rent because of COVID-19:
- Tell your landlord in writing as soon as possible, before rent is due. Keep copies of what you send and your landlord’s responses.
- Take pictures of all documentation that shows you lost income because of COVID-19. These can include:
- Notes from your boss
- Bank statements
- Notices that your kids’ school is closed
- Doctor’s note showing that you had to stay home to care for yourself or someone else
- Even if you tell your landlord that you can’t pay and give them documentation, your landlord might still give you an eviction notice. If you receive an eviction notice, call Bay Area Legal Aid right away at (800) 551-5554.
- Different cities have different rules and resources about what you have to do to stay in your home. Call Bay Area Legal Aid at (800) 551-5554 to find out which rules apply to you.
Download this information in our printable COVID-19 and Housing Flyer.
Housing Legal Resources
- Sample letter from CA tenant to landlord regarding prohibited rent increase: (English) | (Spanish)
- This letter template can be used to inform landlords when they are violating protections against housing price gouging and unlawful evictions during the state of emergency that began March 5, 2020.
- Self-Help Eviction Defense Unlawful Detainer Answer Packet. This self-help packet is designed to help tenants represent themselves in unlawful detainer actions. The information provided in this self-help packet is not legal advice. For advice, please contact our Legal Advice Line at (800) 551-5554.
- Resources for unsheltered Alameda County residents during the COVID-19 emergency:
- Alameda County Healthcare for the Homeless coronavirus information and update page.
- Tenants Rights Line: If you are an Alameda County resident facing housing-related legal issues, you can call our dedicated Tenants Right Line at 1-888-382-3405. Hours of availability are:
- Monday, Thursday, and Friday: 9:30am – 12:30pm
- Tuesday and Wednesday: 1:00pm – 4:00pm