Coronavirus impact: Lawmaker calls for eviction moratorium extension, citing looming health crisis

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A statewide eviction moratorium could be lifted as early as August 14.

The fate of more than one million renters may be determined by a state body that few of us have heard of. Yet it can push many closer to being evicted.

"We are working in real time and we are working against the clock, that August 14 clock," California Governor Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Monday.

August 14 is the date California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is considering lifting the statewide ban on evictions.

She oversees the State Judicial Council, which instituted that ban back in April.

The California Apartment Association estimates one out of three Californians were unable to pay all or even part of their rent last month.

San Francisco Assemblyperson David Chiu says the legislature must act.

"If we don't make any changes to the law, we're going to see a whole slew of Californians being evicted and those landlords will never get paid," said Assm. Chiu.

AB 1436 authored by Chiu would give renters up to one year to pay back rent and ban any eviction for non-payment of rent due to the pandemic.

Dr. Margot Kushel of UCSF joined other doctors this morning to warn mass evictions would worsen a health crisis.

She fears a surge in evictions will make it even more difficult to social distance.

"Evictions results much of the time in households doubling up with another household or becoming homeless," said Dr. Kushel.

Dr. Sundari Mase of Sonoma County Public Health agrees.

"Evictions would overburden our health care system with more people being prone to illness," Dr. Mase said.

Stasha Powell of Redwood City says her landlord recently retaliated against her for organizing tenants.

"During the many months it took for the eviction to be rescinded, I was hospitalized four times and nearly died," Powell told us.

But landlord Gustavo Gonzalez of San Jose fears the worst if AB 1436 passes.

"You better believe a lot of mom and pops are going to go into foreclosure because they still have to pay their mortgage, property tax, insurance," Gonzalez said.

Assm. Chiu predicts a legislative solution won't happen by the end of August, and is urging the Judicial council to not lift its eviction moratorium until then.

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

Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.