With California rental assistance set to expire in January, tenants wonder how they'll pay

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the financial stability of millions of Californians, and with current rental assistance coming to an end in just a couple of months, many tenants are worried about how they'll pay.

State Assemblymember and Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee David Chiu, who represents San Francisco, helped write legislation for an eviction moratorium.

Chiu told KCBS Radio that the moratorium protects those who can’t pay some or most of their rent.

“But come January 31st, if you are unable to pay all of your back-rent at that time, you could be subject to an eviction if we don’t change the law,” he added.

Chiu said that legislative leaders from four western states, including California, are asking the federal government to provide rental assistance to struggling tenants.

State governments can’t just print money and run deficits, but the federal government can, Chiu noted.

However, landlords are the other part of the equation.

“From our perspective, all we want to do is house people,” said Sid Lakireddy, president of the California Rental Housing Association. “We don’t want empty units. We want to fill them up.”

Lakireddy told KCBS Radio that with Bay Area rents going down while vacancies are going up, landlords want to keep good tenants as long as possible.

He thinks if the Democrats win the two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia, giving them the majority, it’ll help the Biden administration pass a new relief package that could assist renters.