Many Santa Barbara County residents took a deep breath Tuesday when the county extended the pandemic eviction moratorium that was set to expire this month through September 30.
“There are many people who can’t pay their rent,” 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart said. “Unemployment insurance that the federal government has offered and the state has offered is a broken system at best.”
Though the ordinance is meant to ease financial pressure and maintain stable housing for those who suffered an income loss to the COVID-19 pandemic, some supervisors were on the fence about others who might be taking advantage of the ability to put off rent. The ordinance explicitly requires tenants to provide landlords with written notice and documented proof that their income loss is due to the pandemic.
The ordinance also requires tenants to eventually pay back the missed rent after the pandemic ends, leaving a yet-to-be-decided day of reckoning ahead. Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam was the only supervisor to go against the ordinance for that reason.
“I have a fundamental problem with encouraging or telling people not to pay their rent,” Adam said. “I worry that at the end of this thing, everybody’s going to wind up with unpaid rent that’s due, and they are going to get themselves into a pickle because they’re not going to be able to come up with that much money.”
The full ordinance can be found here.
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