COVID-19: Information for Tenants & Landlords
Information about the City of Berkeley’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium
On March 21, 2023, Berkeley City Council passed an Ordinance that sunsets the COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium in two phases. The first phase is called the Covered Period, and it lasts through April 30, 2023. During the Covered Period, only evictions necessary to ensure the health and safety of other residents are permitted. However, qualifying owners may serve Owner Move-in eviction notices in certain cases. The second phase is called the Transition Period, and it lasts from May 1, 2023 through August 31, 2023. During the Transition Period, evictions are permitted for three purposes:
- To ensure the health and safety of other residents.
- To perform an Owner Move-in for owners with only one residential property in Berkeley.
- For non-payment of rent that came due May 1, 2023 through August 31, 2023, unless the tenant provides documentation of a COVID-related reason for non-payment.
Tenant Declaration of COVID-related Distress
Page last updated May 9, 2023.
COVID-19 Related Eviction Protections
State laws that delayed eviction during COVID-19 have expired; the only eviction protections that currently exist come from the Alameda County and Berkeley eviction moratoria. The County moratorium expires on April 30, 2023. After the City Council’s action on March 21, 2023, Berkeley’s moratorium will expire in two stages: the Covered Period and the Transition Period.
The Covered Period
The Covered Period lasts through April 30, 2023. During the Covered Period, an owner may only evict a tenant when necessary to stop an imminent threat to the health and safety of other occupants. However, an owner who seeks to move into a residential unit as their principal residence and who owns only one residential property in the City of Berkeley may serve a notice to terminate a tenancy starting March 1, 2023. The owner must comply with all other owner move-in eviction requirements articulated in Berkeley Municipal Code section 13.76.130.A.9.
The Transition Period
The Transition Period begins May 1, 2023 and expires August 31, 2023. During the Transition Period, an owner may evict a tenant for the following reasons:
- The eviction is necessary to stop an imminent threat to the health and safety of other occupants.
- The owner intends to move into a residential unit as their own primary residence and owns only one residential property in the City of Berkeley.
- The tenant has failed to pay rent that came due May 1, 2023 through August 31, 2023 and did not provide the owner with documentation of a COVID-related reason for failing to pay.
A COVID-related reason for failing to pay rent includes:
- A decrease in income caused by COVID-19 or any government response to COVID-19.
- Material decrease in household income due to caregiving responsibilities, including child care needs arising from school closures.
- Material out-of-pocket medical expenses due to COVID-19.
- A reduction in the number of tenants in a residential unit and difficulty finding new tenants due to COVID-19.
Any notice to terminate a tenancy for nonpayment of rent must inform the tenant of their right to submit documentation establishing a COVID-related reason for the failure to pay rent. Any notice to terminate a tenancy must also comply with all existing requirements under Berkeley ordinances.
A tenant may provide a declaration under the penalty of perjury describing their COVID-19 related reason for failing to pay rent. However, a tenant must provide the declaration and/or any documentation regarding their COVID-19 related reason for failing to pay rent before the expiration of any notice to terminate the tenancy (called a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit).
- Tenant Declaration of COVID-Related Distress. Please note, this declaration may only be used for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 impact for rent that comes due May 1, 2023, through August 31, 2023.
After the Transition Period
Starting September 1, 2023, all state and local eviction protections arising from COVID-19 will have expired. State law and the Good Cause provisions of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance will regulate terminations of tenancy and evictions after the Moratorium expires.
Back Rent That Accrued During the Eviction Moratorium
During the Covered Period and the Transition Period, an owner may not collect back rent that accrued since March 2020 through an eviction lawsuit. After the end of the Transition Period, an owner’s ability to collect rent accruing before September 1, 2023, will be controlled by local and state law. The Rent Board cannot provide advice on state eviction or collection law and advises any owner or tenant to seek legal advice on this issue.
During the Covered Period and the Transition Period, an owner may collect back rent through legal means other than an eviction lawsuit. However, if the tenant owes back rent as the result of a COVID-related impact, the owner may not use any other collection method until the end of the Transition Period.
After August 31, 2023, a landlord may be able to use any unpaid rent that accrues during the Transition Period to initiate an eviction lawsuit. Any tenants who do not pay rent and assert COVID-related impacts during the Transition Period are strongly encouraged to apply for all available rental assistance as soon as possible.
Resources for Berkeley landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities under state and local laws and the availability of rent and mortgage relief:
- City of Berkeley COVID-19 housing retention grants
- Alameda County Housing Secure
- Tenant Declaration of COVID-Related Distress. Please note, this Declaration may only be used for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 impact for rent that comes due May 1, 2023, through August 31, 2023.
ORDINANCE NO. 7,855-N.S. Amending Chapter 13.110 Of the Berkeley Municipal Code, The Covid-19 Emergency Response Ordinance
Mayor Jesse Arreguín’s message on updates to Berkeley’s Eviction Moratorium
Rent Relief: Alameda County Housing Secure, the county program administering rental relief state funds, is no longer accepting new rent relief applications. If you've already applied, you can check the status of your application on the Alameda County Housing Secure website.
Local rent relief funds may still be available! Although Alameda Housing Secure is no longer taking applications for rent relief, the Eviction Defense Center (EDC) has funding from the City of Berkeley to assist Berkeley tenants with rent relief due to Covid-19 or other circumstances. Please contact the EDC at (510) 452-4541 and ask for Eric Magaña or Jose Morales.
Mortgage Relief: California Mortgage Relief Program
- East Bay Community Law Center: (510) 548-4040
- Eviction Defense Center: (510) 452-4541
- CAL Students - Student Legal Services
- Berkeley Property Owners Association
- Alameda County Bar Association Low-Income Landlord Legal Clinic: (510) 302‐2222 ‐ Option 4