Cathedral City renters Thursday are relieved by new rules that temporarily bar evictions due to nonpayment of rent during the coronavirus pandemic.
Two new ordinances were approved by the City Council Wednesday aimed at curbing the effects of the economic standstill spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The new rules went into effect after their adoption by a unanimous vote and apply to residential, as well as commercial evictions, but do not wipe out rental debts.
“Not only has the coronavirus pandemic been a real health concern to many families in Cathedral City, it has also been a tremendous economic burden as well,” Mayor John Aguilar said in a statement. “The council passed these ordinances unanimously as a way to provide our residents and business owners with an additional safeguard to help them navigate through this crisis.”
The ordinances were not on the posted council agenda, but were included last-minute due to their urgent nature, according to Chris Parman, a city spokesman.
Once the ordinances are lifted, renters will have 60 days to pay all past-due rents before evictions can set in. The new rules will remain in effect until either the county or state repeals its coronavirus emergency declarations, or the council votes to repeal the ordnances by a 4/5 vote.
Both residential and commercial renters must provide documentation that their failure to pay rent on time was connected to the coronavirus.
Cathedral City becomes the latest city in the Coachella Valley to enact a temporary moratorium on evictions amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Palm Springs City Council last week approved a two-week moratorium on eviction notices. The council is expected to discuss the issue again at its April 2 meeting.
California’s homeowners breathed collective sighs of relief Wednesday following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that more than 200 banks and credit unions had agreed to offer 90-day waivers to homeowners impacted by coronavirus who are facing foreclosures due to mortgage payments they cannot pay.
Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank will give 90-day waivers, Newsom said Wednesday, while Bank of America has committed to 30 days.
However, Newsom’s announcement did not include relief for renters.
Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, joined more than 30 California lawmakers Wednesday in urging Newsom to stop all evictions statewide for renters until the coronavirus emergency subsides. Garcia and other members of the Legislature signed a joint letter calling on Newsom to build on a prior executive order he signed March 16, which gave local governments the ability to stop evictions if they choose to.
“With a stay-at-home order in effect, we cannot wait on over 500 cities and counties to adopt their own individual measures,” Garcia said. “Too few have done so, and we must act now to protect the public health of our residents.”
According to the letter, 50 cites and counties statewide had placed limits on evictions.