Advocates call Newsom’s rent relief proposal ‘prejudicial and problematic’

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – While some are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom’s newest move to help renters, which still needs approval by the state Legislature, housing advocates are concerned that some could still face eviction if their landlords opt out of the deal. 

“This should not be happening to me or anybody else,” said renter and Sacramento native Tia Kilpatrick.

After the pandemic left her jobless, Kilpatrick worried it could also put her out on the street. 

“I’m from California, a proud Northern Californian. I went to elementary, junior high, high school and college here in Sacramento,” Kilpatrick told FOX40. “I have a graduate degree and here we are in a situation in which somebody like me, who has done all these things, checked off all these boxes, is on the cusp of homelessness.”

Newsom’s plan, Senate Bill 91, would extend eviction protections for six more months. It will also have the state use federal funding to pay off up to 80% of unpaid rent for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

But SB 91 also leaves it up to landlords to waive the remaining 20% of the debt owed.

It’s a reason why these renters and housing advocates took their concerns to the State Capitol.

“Landlords can say this person is going to get relief and this person is not. So, it’s extremely prejudicial and problematic,” Kilpatrick told FOX40.

Father of three Anthony Ydrogo said he’s already run into conflict with his Sacramento landlord.

“I told my landlord I can’t pay my rent and let her know ahead of time because of COVID, and she said I was using COVID as an excuse,” Ydrogo explained.

He said he’s recently been threatened with eviction and fears others could be next.

“Why do I have to live like that? I’m trying to take care of my kids and wondering if I’m going to be kicked out tomorrow or the next day,” Ydrogo told FOX40.

Under SB 91, if landlords deny tenants rent forgiveness, the state will only pay 25% of unpaid debt.

Newsom wants to ensure tenants cannot be evicted from their homes until after June 30. 

But renters like Kilpatrick say more needs to be done to make sure they’re protected from becoming homeless.

“Close the loophole so that landlords are not the ones deciding who gets relief and who doesn’t get relief,” Kilpatrick said.

The California Apartment Association, a group representing owners and other stakeholders of rental properties, said Monday:

While the bill doesn’t contain everything we asked for, the important provision here is the payment of dollars for rent that is owed. Without this money, many landlords are at risk of losing their rental units. It is imperative that the state release that money quickly.

Debra Carlton, Executive Vice President of State Public Affairs, California Apartment Association

The state Legislature is set to vote on the proposal on Thursday. 

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