Bay Area tenants anxious as California's eviction moratorium nears end

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KGO) -- Landlord and tenant rights advocates agree, the state will see a surge of evictions in the coming months. The moratorium on evictions will likely end Sept. 30. Here's what that means to those currently behind on their rent.

Tamiesha Pruitt and her daughter Amahle enjoy a classic game of Patty Cake. The two traditionally end the nursery rhyme with their own touch.

"Put it in the oven for baby and me," the two say together followed by a kiss and a hug.

The show of affection comes at a good time for Pruitt. She's staring down the end of the eviction moratorium and fearful of what could happen next.

"I'm concerned. You know. It's not easy trying to just make it," the mother from Fairfield said.

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Pruitt makes a living as a tutor, but when the pandemic hit, her work dried up.

Debra Carlton is a lobbyist with the California Apartment Association, a landlord group.

She says those who don't qualify for rent assistance will be evicted. "It could happen in October -- mid-October to late October," Carlson said.

That's because the state legislature is out of session. The only way the eviction moratorium would be extended is through an executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom. He's given no indication that's even being considered.

Christina Collins is a tenant's rights attorney with Tobener Ravenscroft.

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"Landlords are getting quite antsy and are anticipating the expiration here," said Collins.

There will be some protections for tenants still in place on Sept. 30.

Carlton says landlords must show that they at least attempted to get rental assistance for their tenants through the emergency rental assistance program.

A state spokesperson tells 7 On Your Side a tenant has 15 days to apply for rental relief once they receive a notice to evict. As long as their application is being reviewed, they cannot be evicted.

Tenants can now receive 100% of their rent money. That's up from the 80% before June 28.

That protection will be in place through March.

To qualify, tenants must earn 80% or less of their county's median income.

Carlton fears some tenants will apply when they have no chance of getting aid.

RELATED: Advocates fear thousands of families will end up homeless with eviction moratorium set to expire next month

"What do you do when you have a tenant who won't leave, in some cases you can't evict them. Even if you know they don't qualify," she wondered.

Two-billion dollars in federal money remains in the rent relief program. Aid totaling $1 billion is already approved.

Pruitt applied in June through Solano County. The county is experiencing a three-month backlog and Tameisha's application is just now being reviewed.

"They don't seem to scream positive and efficient distribution of funds that are available," said Collins.

"I'm a little worried because I'm still a month behind," Pruitt said.

The state suggests not to wait to apply if you anticipate getting behind in your rent. The program will pay up to three months of rent in advance. To apply, go to housing.ca.gov.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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