South Bay Small Businesses Just Got More Time to Pay Back Rent

Santa Clara County extended its eviction protections for small businesses, giving tenants more time to pay back rent due to financial losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Small businesses now have until March 31, 2021, to begin repaying back rent after the Board of Supervisors agreed to extend the local eviction moratorium, which was originally set to expire on Nov. 20.

Santa Clara County, which adopted the ordinance on March 24, last amended the law on Aug. 25 “to include anti-waiver language consistent with existing law so that any waiver of rights by a tenant guaranteed by the county’s eviction moratorium is void as contrary to public policy,” according to a memo from County Counsel James Williams.

Small businesses’ rent reprieve comes as coronavirus cases are spiking in the region and some Bay Area counties begin to bring back certain restrictions on non-essential businesses to help “bend the curve” of the infections.

Santa Clara County, meanwhile, has been one of the more conservative jurisdictions in the state when it comes to easing up on coronavirus-related restrictions. It was slower than many of its neighboring counties to allow people to shop and dine with limited capacity indoors, for instance.

County officials say the best way to avoid restrictions being put back in place is for both residents and businesses to follow the guidelines set out by health officials. Businesses that don’t follow local health rules can also be fined.

The move follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order in March allowing local government to institute moratoriums for residential and commercial evictions through May 31, 2020. While Newsom signed a new state law in August to protect residential tenants, he’s left local jurisdictions in charge of enacting eviction moratoriums for small business tenants by extending his original executive order through March 31, 2021.

Santa Clara County took him up on that offer last week.

Small business tenants in the county now have up to six months after the moratorium ends to pay back at least 50 percent of past-due rent and a year after it ends to pay back past-due rent in full. According to the county’s website, civil fines, monetary damages and injunctive relief can be imposed on landlords who don’t abide by the county law.

Visit the county’s website for more information on the county’s eviction moratorium. 

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

8 Comments

  1. Youre so wonderful Santa Clara County.
    But what if you’re late paying your property tax? Hmmm? What then? Hmmm?
    Is our county so generous with “THEIR” money? No. The late payment penalties continue to be draconian and if our oh so magnanimous County was a private business they’d be charged with usury.
    Yet these public “servants” preen and pose and strut around and act as if they’re the reincarnation of Mother Teresa as they pad their pensions with extorted tax dollars.

  2. Everyone else is supposed to pay for your sins.

    You let my son get molested to get $80,000 in gold to be placed into trust.

  3. Ben, I think you need to write an opinion piece and lay out the whole story, really. These little bits are hard to follow, but it does sound awful.

    On a side note, how is any of this remotely legal. I get the residential stuff, well I don’t but what are you gonna do, but the commercial stuff is a joke.

  4. Numerous small, family and local owned businesses have already closed permanently, despite this local eviction moratorium. Why exactly is that, our supervisors thought this would prevent this from happening, and yet its happened repeatedly.

    This news outlet needs to interview of few of these business owners to understand why, despite this feel good ordinance, these local businesses still collapsed under the most unjustified shutdown in history. The shutdown was originally to prevent a spike in hospitalizations that would overwhelm the system, and it was successful at that in the first 3 months. But then it evolved into eliminating the virus, a far different purpose.

  5. If a business has shut down as a result of fraud or facilitation of child molestation, then any such complaint that served as an impetus is just.

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