In response to COVID-19, the City enacted the Emergency Housing Protections Act (EHPA) on July 2, 2020. The EHPA offers protections for tenants who are struggling to pay rent during this time.
Tenant COVID-19 Certification of Financial Hardship
Tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to financial difficulties caused by COVID-19 should provide their landlords with a Tenant COVID-19 Certification of Financial Hardship. By exercising their rights under the EHPA, tenants can:
- Get a temporary waiver of late fees or interest on back rent.
- Arrange a repayment agreement for back rent.
- Set up a meditation session with their landlord and avoid eviction, as part of the Eviction Diversion Program.
Temporary waiver of late fees
Between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, landlords may not charge late fees to tenants who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
During this time, landlords must also credit any paid laid fees back to a tenant’s rental account.
Mandatory repayment agreements
Tenants who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may enter a mandatory repayment agreement with their landlords. This allows tenants to pay back rent owed through December 31, 2020 over a multi-month repayment period ending on September 30, 2021.
Notice of Rights to Tenants
Landlords should send residential tenants a Notice of Rights to Tenants at least 30 days before taking any steps toward eviction. This notice is not a lease termination or non-renewal notice.
Eviction Diversion Program
Landlords must contact the Eviction Diversion Program if a tenant submits a COVID-19 Certification of Financial Hardship, unless the tenant poses an imminent threat of harm.
As part of the process, a housing counselor will be assigned to the tenant. The counselor will then schedule a mediation conference with the landlord and tenant. The goal is to reach an agreement that suits both parties and avoid going to court.
The landlord may not take steps to evict the tenant until both parties engage in the program, unless the program can’t schedule a meeting within 30 days.