VOICE News Staff
Riverside City Councilmembers Ronaldo Fierro, Steve Hemenway, and Gaby Plascencia released a proposal calling for a 60-day eviction moratorium in the City of Riverside.
The proposal which will be deliberated by the Riverside City Council on March 31st, follows mass closures of businesses in Riverside and substantial losses in wages and income as well as layoffs for already rent-burdened tenants due to the impact of COVID-19.
“We as a community need to come together and protect our most vulnerable during these trying and difficult times,” Councilmember Fierro said. “Right now, that means protecting low-income families and recently shuttered small businesses. This moratorium will provide immediate relief.”
Under the proposal tenants will be required to notify their landlord prior to the day rent is due with the circumstances surrounding their inability to pay their entire rent. Tenants will also be encouraged to work out a payment plan with their landlord.
The moratorium will not relieve the tenant from their obligation to pay rent. Under the proposal tenants will be given a minimum of four months after the termination of the local emergency to pay back the rent owedth no late fees imposed.
“Many small businesses rely on constant cash flow and in some cases struggle to make ends meet as it is,” said Hemenway. Social distancing and other mitigation efforts, while effective, have substantially decreased revenue for many of our small businesses, forcing them to make the decision of covering payroll or paying the monthly rent.” He continued, “this moratorium will give them peace of mind and allow them to stay afloat and pay their employees.”
Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) and Alvord Unified School District (AUSD) have closed until at least April 30th and universities and colleges locally and across the country have closed, resulting in a mass exodus of home-bound students to unexpected, working parents.
Councilwoman Gaby Plascencia said, “It is imperative that during this crisis, our residents and small businesses are assured that they will not lose their homes or places of business because they can’t make the rent. Many of our working residents are one paycheck away from homelessness. We can’t allow this crisis to push more of our vulnerable residents and families into homelessness.”
If adopted by the council on Tuesday March 31st, 2020, the moratorium will go into effect and will be reviewed by the Riverside City Council after 60 days.