The Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday evening chose to end a countywide residential eviction moratorium on April 29 following a discussion and a rally by property owners earlier in the day.
About 100 people chanted in the rain Tuesday morning to demand an end to the moratorium. It has caused, among other things, some property owners to lose tens of thousands of dollars or more in rent.
The moratorium applies to both cities and the unincorporated areas of the county. If a city has a moratorium that is more restrictive, then the city's provisions apply. Also, if a city's law is stronger for tenants than for homeowners, the county's provisions for homeowners apply.
Jinyu Wu, a San Leandro property owner, started a hunger strike Sunday morning in front of the Alameda County Administration Building where the Board of Supervisors meets.
Wu is allegedly owed more than $120,000 in unpaid rent. He is an immigrant who came to America in 2016 and was feeling better inside the supervisors chambers Tuesday afternoon. He said outside it was too cold.
"I have two requests," said Wu when asked what he wanted the board to do Tuesday. "One, end the eviction moratorium immediately. Two, compensate many small housing providers impacted by eviction moratorium."
He wants the county to reimburse property owners for their losses and blames elected officials rather than tenants for the problem. He wouldn't say more than the brief comments he made, but others had plenty to say.
"It's not fair for small housing providers," said Jennifer Liu, president of the Business and Housing Network, a nonprofit that represents small property owners and advocates for property rights and housing friendly policies.
"Why should the eviction moratorium continue?" Liu said Tuesday since the state Covid emergency ended Tuesday.
She believes elected officials must protect vulnerable and low-income residents, but also believes the government should consider others who need help, too.
"With the lack of income, Wu's family is suffering," Liu said.
Wu also applied for federal rent relief and was not approved, Liu said. She doesn't know why.
"I firmly believe our eviction moratorium was an overreach," Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley told his colleagues and the people listening to Tuesday's meeting.
He felt the moratorium should have been more restrictive.
"I'm a strong believer in property rights," he said.
A property owner said during public comment that the moratorium was one-sided. He allegedly lost $80,000 in rent last year.
The end of the moratorium on April 29 is now just 60 days away.
"For the first time in three years, housing providers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this unfair and burdensome law is coming to an end in 60 days," Joshua Howard, executive vice president of the California Apartment Association, said in a statement.
"CAA calls upon the Board of Supervisors to now make Alameda County property owners whole for the injustices, loss of income and harm they have suffered because of this unfair moratorium," Howard added. "The County must urgently consider reimbursing property owners for unpaid rent they are owed."
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