Evictions due to COVID-19 on hold throughout county

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News senior reporter
County supervisors on Tuesday adopted a moratorium on evictions in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County.
The urgency ordinance, approved unanimously during a special meeting of the board, will temporarily prohibit or suspend residential and commercial evictions in the unincorporated areas for nonpayment of rent based on substantial financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a major component of the ordinance, tenants are given 30 days from the date rent is due to let landlords know, in writing, of a hardship related to COVID-19.
It also encourages tenants to notify landlords of their inability to pay on or before the date rent is due.
The ordinance also provides examples of the documentation tenants will need to submit as proof of a hardship, and encourages tenants to make partial payments of rents, if possible.


However, tenants will still be liable for unpaid rent.
The moratorium will remain in place through May 31.
The city of Ojai adopted a moratorium on residential evictions two weeks ago.
Six other Ventura County cities — Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Oxnard, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks have placed temporary bans on both residential and commercial evictions.
On March 27, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order that will slow down, but not halt, the eviction process for residential tenants, by extending for 60 days a tenant’s deadline to answer a complaint from a landlord.
According to County Executive Officer Michael Powers, temporarily protecting tenants from eviction will help the county avoid an increase in the homeless population and help keep businesses impacted by COVID-19 operating.
The new rules will also help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the county’s vulnerable populations by letting them stay in their current homes, Powers said in a letter to the board.
In addition to adopting the eviction moratorium, supervisors also accepted a grant for more than $624,000 in COVID-19 emergency homeless funding from the state’s Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.
More than $325,000 of the grant will go to the Ventura County Continuum of Care, while the County of Ventura will use more than $299,000 to invest in COVID-19 prevention and containment efforts.