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Costa Mesa Adopts Ordinance for Moratorium on Evictions

Costa Mesa City Hall (Photo: City of Costa Mesa)

At a Special Meeting on Tuesday March 24, the City Council approved an urgency ordinance to place a moratorium on the eviction of residential or commercial tenants, who are unable to pay rent and other measures to help residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our families are hurting right now as job losses mount in the face of this crisis,” Mayor Katrina Foley said. “We need to take extraordinary and swift action to help them and give them some financial relief during these difficult times.”

In addition to approving the moratorium on evictions, the council agreed to temporarily lift the 30-day maximum stay for local motels, and approved a $250,000 rental assistance program for individuals at risk of homelessness.

Providing tenants with protection from eviction due to the inability to pay rent

will help stabilize the rental housing market by reducing displacement, according to City staff.

This is an essential measure to avoid the unnecessary displacement of hundreds of tenants and aa rise in homelessness. Prohibiting evictions on a temporary basis is important until the spread of the virus can be minimized and the emergency restrictions lifted.

The urgency ordinance would prohibit a landlord from initiating proceedings or otherwise taking steps to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent from any residential dwelling (including single family and multi-family homes, mobile homes or other structures lawfully used as a residential dwelling) if the tenant demonstrates that the inability to pay rent is due to COVID-19, according to City staff.

Another measure approved by the Council on Tuesday was the creation of a Disaster Relief Program to assist families and businesses during this crisis utilizing Federal and/or State Disaster Relief funds.

The elimination of the 30-day cap on motel stays adopted by the City Council allows for longer lengths of stay in City motels to promote stability for families in need.

Click here to read the staff reports.

The council also ratified the City Manager’s order to close all city parks and the public golf course on Monday March 23.  This bold step will help stem the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.