San Jose Rent Mediation Programs Begins for Community
Thursday, September, 3, 2020
Rent mediation programs are springing up all over the country and San Jose is no exception.
The program is open to those experiencing financial challenges due to COVID-19 and the shutdown of businesses in the San Jose community. The state implemented an eviction program in March that prevented landlords from throwing out tenants who did not pay their rent, but that program expired August 1st.
Now that the temporary protection has run out but the financial challenges of the pandemic continue, the city chose to help those involved in eviction disputes. The decision came after the San Jose housing department received hundreds of calls from landlords and tenants looking for guidance and support.
Incoming calls are now screened to determine if those involved are eligible to participate in the mediation program. The goal of the program is to help landlords and tenants resolve their rent disputes. Residents living in a variety of different types of housing might be eligible, including those in apartments, single-family houses, duplexes, accessory dwelling units, and mobile homes.
To participate, tenants must live in a space originally covered by the earlier eviction moratorium and have suffered a “substantial loss of income” due to COVID-19. This includes those who were furloughed, had their hours reduced, or lost their job because of the pandemic.
According to San Jose Housing Department Deputy Director Rachel VanderVeen, “Tenants are very stressed because they are under financial strain and they are worried about the future. The anxiety about not being able to pay rent is very high.”
Those involved in the program will eventually be required to pay the accumulated balance, but in most cases, the deadlines for doing so will be February 28, 2021, for the first 50 percent and August 31, 2021, for the remaining balance.’