Residential and Commercial Eviction and Rent Increase Moratorium FAQ

For more information, please contact the City Manager’s Office:

On April 6, 2020, the Pittsburg City Council adopted moratoria on residential and commercial tenant evictions and rent increases for the duration of the local emergency proclaimed as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Below are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the adopted moratoria.

What does the eviction moratorium mean for Pittsburg tenants, both residential and commercial?

No landlord may evict a residential or commercial tenant who cannot pay their rent due to financial impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, no landlord may evict a residential or commercial tenant for reasons that are not the fault of the tenant (known as a “no-fault eviction”) unless necessary for the health and safety of tenants, neighbors, or the landlord.

Please note, if the tenant suffers only a partial loss of income, the tenant has to pay the pro-rated share of rent.   For example, if the tenant’s income drops 1/4 because of the loss of work hours available due to the pandemic, the tenant must pay ¾ of the rent when the rent is due.  Tenants still owe all landlord amounts that are not paid.  The tenant must pay the amount owed back to the landlord within six months of the termination of the local emergency.  It is not known when the City Council will terminate the local emergency.

What is a “No-Fault eviction”?

A “No-fault eviction” refers to any eviction for which the notice to terminate tenancy is not based on alleged fault by the residential and/or commercial tenant.

Does the ordinance provide protections to both residential and commercial renters?

Yes. The moratorium applies to all residential rentals and commercial tenants in the City of Pittsburg.

Does the moratorium protect against evictions due to foreclosures?

No. The moratorium does not apply to evictions for residential or commercial foreclosures. However, the Governor of California has announced that, beginning March 25, 2020, for at least 60 days, financial institutions will not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions, consistent with applicable guidelines. For more information, please Visit the Governor’s website at https://www.gov.ca.gov/.  

The statewide court system issued an emergency order on April 6 stating that no summons on an unlawful detainer lawsuit will be issued until 90 days after the Governor lifts the state of emergency, unless the unlawful detainer is necessary to protect public health and safety.

Contra Costa County Superior Court issued an emergency rule on April 6 stating that no new unlawful detainer filing will be accepted, unless the matter involves violence, threats of violence, or health and safety issues.  The rule will remain in effect until rescinded, withdrawn, or changed.

How do I know if I’m eligible for protection under the ordinance?

Tenants who have experienced financial impacts related to COVID-19 are eligible.

For residential tenants, “Financial impacts related to COVID-19” means a substantial decrease in household income (including but not limited to a substantial decrease in household income caused by layoffs or a reduction in the number of compensable hours of work), or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and the decrease in household income or the out-of-pocket medical expenses was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or by any federal, state or local government recommendation to self-quarantine or shelter in place, and is documented.

For commercial tenants, “Financial impacts related to COVID-19” means a substantial decrease in business income (including but not limited to a substantial decrease in business income caused by a reduction in open hours or consumer demand) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or by any federal, state or local government recommendation to self-quarantine or shelter in place, and is documented.

Do I have to pay back the rent that I owe the landlord?

Yes. Tenants are still liable for the unpaid rent, which the landlord may seek after termination of the local emergency and the tenant must pay within six months of the termination of the local emergency.

PLEASE NOTE, the required payback period may be extended by the City Council at a later date. Please continue to check this page for updates.

As a landlord with a tenant who is experiencing a financial impact due to the pandemic, can I charge my tenant a portion of the rent (pro-rated)?

Yes.  If the tenant suffers only a partial loss of income, the tenant is required to pay the pro-rated share of rent.  The City strongly encourages landlords and tenants in this situation to communicate with each other and reach an understanding.

If I cannot pay my rent because of the pandemic, what do I need to do?

Notify your landlord as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days after the date that rent is due of the inability to pay some or all of the rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19. Notification has to be done in writing, which can be done by email or text.  Provide the landlord with documentation showing the impact.  It could be a letter from the employer, for example, or a bank statement, or a pay stub.  If the financial impact was because of medical bills related to COVID-19, the medical bills can be the documentation.  If for some reason you have no documents, you are encouraged to provide your landlord a written explanation of your circumstances. .

Do I have to provide my personal medical and/or financial information to my landlord to show my income has been impacted by COVID-19?

No.  The ordinance does not require any particular type of document to be provided to your landlord. You do not have to provide personal medical and/or financial information to your landlord to show your income has been impacted by COVID-19 or your bills related to COVID-19 cause you to not be able to afford rent.  

However, depending on your situation, you may find it easiest to provide bank statements, pay stubs, medical bills, or similar documents to indicate your loss of income or COVID-19 related expenses. Please know that if you do, your landlord must keep these records confidential. You  may cover up or redact any information not necessary to show the income loss or COVID-19 expenses, such as account numbers, social security numbers, medical ID numbers, and similar details.

Does the eviction moratorium prevent my landlord from charging late fees if I haven’t paid my rent in full?

Yes. Your landlord must not charge a late fee and/or interest on late payments during the moratorium period.

Does the moratorium apply to all evictions?

No. Property owners or landlords can pursue an eviction for some reasons other than COVID-19 financial impacts, including other lease violations, such as prior or chronic nonpayment of rent unrelated to COVID-19, or illegal or criminal activity at the rented property.

What happens after the eviction moratorium is over?

Tenants will have up to six months to repay any back rent due. The tenant and landlord are to mutually work out a payment schedule or arrangements for repayment of the rent.

If I was behind on my rent before March 16, does the eviction moratorium apply to me?

No. The moratorium does not apply to pre-existing past due rent you may have owed prior to March 16, 2020. If you already owed back rent, the City’s ordinance would not provide you with eviction protection.

What should I do if I receive an eviction notice?

If you meet the criteria of the ordinance, you should immediately inform your landlord that you cannot pay your rent in full due to a loss of income arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and that you meet the requirements under the eviction moratorium ordinance. Tenants can also raise protection under the ordinance as a defense in court to an eviction proceeding.

What happens if my landlord moves forward with an eviction?

A landlord cannot lawfully force you to move without a court order. If you meet the requirements of the ordinance, you can explain your situation to the judge in court in your eviction case, which may provide a legal defense to the eviction.

How does the Governor’s recent executive order on residential evictions affect the City’s ordinance?

On March 27, 2020, the Governor issued an executive order providing certain protections on residential evictions. (Executive Order N-37-20.) Read the executive order. The Governor’s order provides similar protections to residential tenants as the City’s ordinance, with some differences.

Note: The Governor’s order applies only to evictions from a residence or dwelling; not commercial tenancies.

As a landlord, if I can’t pay my mortgage, what options are available?

On March 25, the Governor announced financial relief provisions for homeowners suffering financially as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. You may be eligible for mortgage payment forbearances of up to 90 days and a waiver or refund of mortgage-related late fees. View details on how to apply for relief. Loans held by a financial institution may be serviced by another company.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has enacted a 60-day suspension on all foreclosures and evictions for single-family homes with FHA-insured mortgages. Contact your loan servicer for more information if your property has an FHA-insured mortgage.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.   Multifamily borrowers may have additional options. Please contact your loan servicer to discuss your options.

We encourage all property owners experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to call their loan servicer.  Private financial institutions may have their own relief programs during this crisis. 

Who do I contact for more information?

If you have questions or need additional information regarding the adopted moratorium, please call the City Manager’s Office at 925-252-5010.

Tenants in need of housing assistance may call:

  • Pittsburg Housing Authority: 925-252-4830
  • Shelter Inc.: 925-338-1038
  • Pacific Community Services: 925-439-1056

Tenants seeking legal aid, information on tenant rights, or education and advocacy can find a list of resources at:

Read about Mediation & Settlement in Eviction Cases for information about resolving your case out of court.

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