Costa Mesa could temporarily prohibit landlords from evicting residential and commercial tenants impacted financially by the Coronavirus pandemic.
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The city council will be introducing an ordinance to ban evictions during the extent of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state of emergency executive order at tonight’s city council meeting.
“We have a lot of people who have all lost their jobs all at once due to no fault of their own and some may, some may not be eligible for government assistance in terms of unemployment and benefits,” said Mayor Katrina Foley at a special council meeting on March 24.
Several cities in the county including Costa Mesa have already adopted emergency ordinances to temporarily ban evictions for residents and businesses suffering financial loss because of the economic fallout caused by the Coronavirus.
The city has also taken similar action to temporarily allow motel guests to stay longer than 30 days to accommodate guests who are stuck due to flight restrictions caused by the virus.
Now the city council will vote to introduce those same urgency ordinances as regular ordinances.
“As always, we recommend that regular ordinances be adopted which provide a strong legal backstop to emergency orders and ordinances,” reads the staff reports.
Both Councilmembers Allan Mansoor and Sandra Genis voted against the ordinance to temporarily ban evictions believing that it would deal a devastating blow to mom and pop landlords who depend on rent as an income.
“There are extreme difficulties that a lot of people are facing right now. Whether you’re the renter or the property owner, I can see hardship on both sides,” Mansoor said at the special council meeting.
“The stimulus funds that may come in and help people out, the ability for people to negotiate directly with their landlord and maybe come up with an alternative plan without us interfering, all these options are still on the table and so I have a hard time supporting it.”
Costa Mesa has roughly 41,000 households in a city of about 114,000 residents. The city’s median household income is about $79,000 with 13 percent of its residents living in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau.
Councilwoman Andrea Marr said action needed to be taken immediately to defer increases of homelessness and unemployment in the city.
“Even if you own one property the mortgage companies at this point are highly likely to also be extending mortgage payments. So I understand the concern about those who receive income through leasing out properties but I would like to do this across the board for maximum possible effect,” Marr said at the special council meeting.
Residents will have four months after Newsom’s state of emergency executive order is lifted to pay back rent without fees or penalties.
Landlords would not be allowed to evict residential or commercial tenants for not paying their rent if the tenant is unable to do so because of the pandemic.
The tenant must inform their landlords of how they’ve been financially impacted by the virus and supply proof of that impact through writing within 30 days after the rent is due.