'I try not to let it keep me up': Bay Area residents concerned about paying rent on April 1 despite statewide moratorium

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The silence of streets in the Bay Area tell a story of sheltering in place in the middle of a global pandemic. But inside many of homes, residents have another worry.

For many rent is due on Wednesday.

"I try not to let it keep me up, " said Oakland resident Vanessa Bulnes. "But when I wake up in the middle of the night my first thought is how we're going to be able to pay the rent?"

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With families like the Bulnes in mind, on Friday Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide moratorium on evictions for renters hit by the coronavirus crisis that will last through May 31.

The statewide moratorium requires tenants to provide a letter to landlords no more than seven days after rent is due explaining their situation.

Renters are still obligated to repay rent in a "timely manner." A key aspect of this moratorium that doesn't sit well with State Sen. Scott Wiener.

"In my view it doesn't go far enough because people can still be evicted for not paying rent. They won't be evicted right now during the state of emergency but they can be evicted after the state of emergency end," said Sen. Wiener.

Housing advocates see this as a quick fix and a way to delay evictions and not necessarily stop them.

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"While the crisis is going on we need to cancel rents and make it so tenants don't have to pay it at the end and neither do homeowner or small landlords," said Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer with Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.

For now conversations are still happening in the senate level to potentially expand this eviction moratorium

"We want the governor to issue a broader moratorium on eviction in California," said Sen. Wiener.

Documentation that can be provided to your landlord can be a letter from your employer, payroll stubs, bank statements or medical bills.
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