COVID-19 Rental Assistance & Eviction Compliance (SB 91)

Last updated on May 14, 2021.

Quick Guide: 

  • Send Notice of Rent Delinquency (Form 401) no later than February 28, 2021. 
  • Use updated 15-Day Notice to Pay or Quit effective February 1.
  • Send Declaration of COVID-19 Related Financial Distress with Pay or Quit Notice. 
  • No late fees or new fees on services previously provided at no cost. 
  • No applying rental payments to past due amounts. 
  • COVID-19 rental debt cannot be used as factor to deny a rental application. 
  • Housing provider does not have to reduce/credit rent for compliance with health order (i.e., pool or gym closure).
  • Just Cause termination applies immediately regardless of length of tenancy.
  • Fact Sheet on AB 80/SB 91 

Emergency Rental Assistance Programs

  • NEW! - COVID-19 ERAP Attestation Form: SCRHA is pleased to offer a new form to help you with the rental assistance application process. Most application portals require a document upload with regards to tenant income. Use this form if you have been unable to verify income or obtain documentation from your resident and need to upload something in order to submit an application. It will also help you document your rental assistance-related efforts since under SB 91 housing providers must demonstrate they made good faith efforts with regards to rental assistance in order to recover past-due rent.
  • SCRHA has created a customizable letter you may share with your residents when you have submitted a Rental Assistance application on their behalf. Use this letter to let them know they will be contacted by a local program and may need to provide more information or approve an application. The letter reminds them that Rental Assistance serves to help both parties. The letter also encourages communication between housing provider and resident. While the letter may be edited, we ask that you refrain from including anything that may be construed as threatening or harassment as this letter is designed to encourage cooperation and foster goodwill. Click here to download the letter. 



City of San Diego - Application Period Now Open! 

Housing providers can submit an application on behalf of their tenant. The program is required to give priority to paying past-due, unpaid rent. The program can pay 80% of a tenant’s past-due, unpaid rent for the period of April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, but only if the housing provider agrees to waive the remaining 20%.

If a landlord does not agree to these terms, the program can pay 25 percent of the tenant’s past-due, unpaid rent. If funds remain available after past-due, unpaid rent payments have been made for qualifying households, the program can pay up to 25 percent of the tenant’s upcoming monthly rent for April 2021 through June 2021. Rent payments will be made by direct deposit to the housing provider and utility provider. A check will be mailed for the rent if the housing provider does not do business with a financial institution. If a housing provider declines to accept payment, the program will provide a payment to the tenant. Rent payments will equal 25 percent of the rent the tenant owes.

County of San Diego  - the San Diego County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program will remain open until all funds are expended.County ERAP Flyer 031021

  • Click here to apply. 
  • Recording of 3/17/21 Webinar
  • Slides from Webinar Presentation.
  • If the housing provider accepts participation in the program, the County will compensate 80% of an eligible household’s rental arrears accumulated from April 2020 to March 2021. The owner must agree to accept the 80% payment as payment in full of the rental debt owed by the tenant, which means they forgive the remaining debt. The rental arrears will be paid directly to the housing provider.
  • The housing provider does not have to participate in the program. If they decline participation in the program, the County can compensate 25% of the eligible household’s monthly rental arrears accumulated from April 2020 to March 2021. In this situation, payment of rental arrears can be paid directly to the tenant.

See FAQ below for more program details. Visit the County Website for a qualified income chart as well as flyers and FAQs in other languages. SCRHA encourages you to share these documents with residents and/or post them at your property. 

  • Emergency Rental Assistance Program FAQ
  • NEW! County of San Diego: Webinar Series on Emergency Rental Assistance

    Starting May 20, the County of San Diego will be hosting weekly webinars on Thursdays, from 9 – 10 a.m., on the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Housing providers will learn more about the program and have an opportunity to ask questions. No registration is necessary. Simply log in to Microsoft Teams at 9 a.m. on Thursdays using the following information:

    Join on your computer or mobile app: Click here to join the meeting Or call in (audio only): +1 619-343-2539,,633625638#   Phone Conference ID: 633 625 638#

City of Chula Vista - Application Period Now Open!

Assistance will be provided using the priorities below and only as funds are available:

Priority 1:

Limited to 80% of past due rent from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 AND only if the landlord forgives the remaining 20% of past due rent.

If the landlord is not willing to forgive the 20%, then assistance will be limited to 25% of past due rent from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.

Priority 2:

Past due utility bills for gas & electric, water, or sewer from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.

Priority 3:

Future rent, limited to 25% of rent, and utility assistance for 3 months at a time.

Not sure which program applies to your property in the San Diego region? Click here for a map/search feature.

County of Riverside Rental Assistance - Now Open

The County of Riverside will again be partnering with United Lift to administer their Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program will provide one-time rental assistance support to cover up to 12 months of unpaid rent during the period between March 13, 2020 until the time of application, plus an additional three months of future rent. Eligibility is limited to renters in Riverside County with a current lease agreement who are earning 80 percent or below the area’s median income and can document a loss of income due to COVID-19. 

Imperial County Rental Assistance via State Program

Important SB 91 Deadlines: 

  • On or before February 28, 2021, a housing provider must provide, in at least 12-point type, specific notice to any resident who as of February 1, 2021, has not paid one or more rental payments that came due during between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. 
  • This means owners and managers need to send all residents with rental debt between March 2020 and February 1, 2021 Form 401 no later than February 28, 2021.
  • Form 403 COVID-19 Notice of Rent Delinquency has been updated with required language. Please make sure you are using Form 403 from the Form Library and not an old version you have saved. The correct form will read "Form 403 © 2021" at the bottom.  
  • COVID-19 Rental Debt may be pursued August 1, 2021 (changed from March 1). 

Defined Payment Periods 

  • SEPTEMBER 1, 2020 to JUNE 30, 2021 ("The Transition Period")  
  • Use SCRHA Forms 403 (COVID-19 Notice to Pay or Quit-Transition Period Rent), 401 (COVID-19 Notice of Rent Delinquency) and 299 (Declaration of COVID-19 Related Financial Distress)   

Resources from The State of California 

SCRHA members may access forms via the Member Login. Not a member? Join Today to access Rental Forms and other resources!  

No COVID-19-Related Evictions Until June 30, 2021  

  • Tenant cannot be evicted for a COVID-19 related hardship that accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020 if tenant returns declaration of hardship under penalty of perjury.
  • Tenant cannot be evicted for a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 if tenant returns declaration of hardship under penalty of perjury and pays at least 25% of the rent due.   
  • The tenant may pay you 25% EACH MONTH OR can pay a LUMP SUM equaling at least 25% of the total rent they owe for this period so long as they have paid you this amount by June 30, 2021.
  • Higher income tenants (over $100K household income or over 130% of median household income, whichever is higher) must provide documentation to support their declaration upon a landlord’s request.   
  • High Income Chart for San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties
  • Applies to all residential tenants (including mobile home tenants), regardless of immigration status.  
  • Evictions to protect health and safety will be allowed.    
  • Evictions that began prior to March 1, 2020 may proceed.     
  • In order to evict a renter on or after February 1, 2021, property owners must give a 15-day written notice (not including weekends and judicial holidays).
  • Limits attorneys' fees awarded to prevailing parties in certain cases.  

Tenants Still Responsible for Paying Unpaid Amounts to Landlords  

  • So long as the tenant with COVID-19 related hardship follows the bill’s procedures, any unpaid rent due between March 4, 2020 – June 30, 2021 is not a ground/basis for eviction but is still owed to the landlord as a form of consumer debt.   
  • Small claims court jurisdiction is temporarily expanded to allow landlords to recover these amounts.   
  • Landlords may begin to recover this debt on August 1, 2021.  

Additional Legal and Financial Protections for Tenants  

  • Extends notice period for nonpayment of rent from 3 to 15 days to provide tenant additional time to respond to landlord’s notice to pay rent or quit.
  • Requires landlords to provide hardship declaration forms in a different language if rental agreement was negotiated in a different language.   
  • Provides tenants a backstop if they have a good reason for failing to return the hardship declaration within 15 days.   
  • Requires landlords to provide tenants a notice detailing their rights under the Act.   
  • Limits public disclosure (“masking”) of eviction cases involving nonpayment of rent between March 4, 2020 – June 30, 2021.   
  • Housing provider may not apply a security deposit to satisfy COVID-19 rental debt, unless the tenant has agreed, in writing, to allow the deposit to be so applied. Nothing shall prohibits a landlord from applying a security deposit to satisfy COVID-19 rental debt after the tenancy ends. 
  • Housing provider may not apply a monthly rental payment to any COVID-19 rental debt other than the prospective month’s rent unless the tenant has agreed in writing. 
  • A housing provider, tenant screening company, or other entity that evaluates tenants on behalf of a housing provider shall not use an alleged COVID-19 rental debt, as that term is defined in Section 1179.02, as a negative factor for the purpose of evaluating a prospective housing application or as the basis for refusing to rent a dwelling unit to an otherwise qualified prospective tenant.
No Late Fees or New Fees 
  • 1942.9. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a landlord shall not, with respect to a tenant who has COVID-19 rental debt, as that term is defined in Section 1179.02 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and who has submitted a declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress, as that term is defined in Section 1179.02, do either of the following:
    • (1) Charge a tenant, or attempt to collect from a tenant, fees assessed for the late payment of that COVID-19 rental debt. 
    • (2) Increase fees charged to the tenant or charge the tenant fees for services previously provided by the landlord without charge. 

Properties who must comply with state or local health orders and close amenities like pools or gyms, are not considered to have violated the rental agreement.  

  • Notwithstanding any other law, a landlord who temporarily reduces or makes unavailable a service or amenity as the result of compliance with federal, state, or local public health orders or guidelines shall not be considered to have violated the rental or lease agreement, nor to have provided different terms or conditions of tenancy or reduced services for purposes of any law, ordinance, rule, regulation, or initiative measure adopted by a local governmental entity that establishes a maximum amount that a landlord may charge a tenant for rent. (Civil Code 1942.9. (b) ) 

Just Cause and Other Provisions (1179.03.5.): Just Cause is in place immediately for all rental properties in most cases. Substantial remodel as cause is temporarily limited as is cause relating to sale of a property. 

Before July 1, 2021, a court may not find a tenant guilty of an unlawful detainer unless it finds that one of the following applies:  

  • (1) The tenant was guilty of the unlawful detainer before March 1, 2020.  
  • (2) In response to service of a notice demanding payment of COVID-19 rental debt pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 798.56 of the Civil Code or paragraph (2) or (3) of Section 1161, the tenant failed to comply with the requirements of Section 1179.03.  
  • (3) (A) The unlawful detainer arises because of a termination of tenancy for any of the following:  
    • (i) An at-fault just cause, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code.  
    • (ii) (I) A no-fault just cause, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code, other than intent to demolish or to substantially remodel the residential real property, as defined in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2. 
      • (II) Notwithstanding subclause (I), termination of a tenancy based on intent to demolish or to substantially remodel the residential real property shall be permitted if necessary, to maintain compliance with the requirements of Section 1941.1 of the Civil Code, Section 17920.3 or 17920.10 of the Health and Safety Code, or any other applicable law governing the habitability of residential rental units.  
      • (iii) The owner of the property has entered into a contract for the sale of that property with a buyer who intends to occupy the property, and all the requirements of paragraph (8) of subdivision (e) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code have been satisfied.  
  • This section does not require a landlord to assist the tenant to relocate through the payment of relocation costs if the landlord would not otherwise be required to do so pursuant to Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code or any other law.
  • A landlord who is required to assist the tenant to relocate pursuant to Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code or any other law, may offset the tenant’s COVID-19 rental debt against their obligation to assist the tenant to relocate.