A moratorium on residential evictions for unpaid rent related to the coronavirus won unanimous Board of Supervisors approval Tuesday and covers the 20 cities in San Mateo County, along with unincorporated communities.

No landlord is to evict a tenant who demonstrates inability to pay rent due to the coronavirus, according to the emergency regulation that ends May 31 unless extended by the county. Such tenants have up to 180 days after the regulation’s end to pay delayed rents.

The measure takes effect immediately.

Supervisor David Canepa said in a statement that the start of a new month looms for residents.

“For too many of my constituents right now, April’s rent payment is simply out of reach,” Canepa said.

The Sacramento-based California Apartment Association, in correspondence to San Mateo County, said the group supports the Board of Supervisors intent to assist renters. The measure is a rent deferral, rather than waiver, the apartment association said.

Its website calls for a halt for evictions of renters affected by COVID-19 and related government actions — as well as waiving late fees for such residents who pay after the rent due date.

The Board of Supervisors including cities in the county measure for an eviction moratorium is unique, since board actions are normally restricted to unincorporated lands governed by the county.

“We are showing state leadership,” Supervisor Dave Pine said. “We are the first in the state to move to do this.”

County Manager Mike Callagy said as more and more businesses close and employees are displaced, evictions will lead to homelessness when people are asked to shelter in place.

Millbrae Mayor Reuben Holober supported the county moratorium as did John Goodwin, mayor of Colma, who said he was speaking as a private citizen.

San Francisco on March 13 imposed a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent by residential tenants directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, a San Mateo County staff report said.

The San Mateo City Council Monday unanimously approved a moratorium on evictions of small businesses and nonprofit organizations during the COVID-19 emergency. The council was also interested in adopting a moratorium on evictions of residential tenants, but held off because the county was slated to pass such an ordinance on Tuesday, and it did.

Louise Rogers, chief of San Mateo County Health, told the Board of Supervisors before it began its discussion of eviction moratorium that 161 cases of the coronavirus and one death have been reported in the county.

Because testing is still evolving, the number of cases here is expected to increase dramatically, Rogers indicated.

The Board of Supervisors chambers was closed for the Tuesday meeting, with county department heads participating electronically.

Warren Slocum, president of the Board of Supervisors, said at the start of the meeting that Golden State Warrior Draymond Green was asked about two Utah Jazz players contracting the coronavirus.

Slocum recounted Green’s reaction: “It doesn’t hit home, until it hits home.”

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