San Diego County tenants are still protected from evictions until early October, but stricter local law expires.

On Sunday, the San Diego County eviction moratorium, which was stricter than state and federal laws, will end. The local ban was controversial in preventing landlords from relocating to properties if they had a tenant and triggered unsuccessful legal action.

Starting Monday, San Diego landlords could send 60-day eviction notices to tenants if they intend to return or make major repairs to their property. It might also be easier to get rid of problematic tenants.

What landlords still can’t do is evict tenants who have lost money to COVID-19 for not paying rent. A federal deportation ban has been extended through Oct. 3 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while California’s moratorium on deportations, with rules similar to the federal ban, extends to to September 30.

Rent advocacy groups have argued that the continuing financial hardships of tenants and increasing COVID-19 cases mean now is not the time to end eviction protections. Grace Martinez, local director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment advocacy group, said low-income tenants need stronger protections – like that in San Diego County – after more than a year of job losses .

“Unless something is done, we’re headed for a huge eviction cliff,” Martinez said.

Homeowner groups have lobbied hard at the local and national levels to end moratoria in place since the start of the pandemic. They say homeowners, especially the smaller ones, have their own bills and can’t expect them to continue to incur losses.

Alan Pentico, executive director of the Southern California Rental Housing Association, said the organization was relieved at the end of the county law. In particular, he said the extra part of San Diego’s ban that prevented landlords from evicting tenants for “fair” reasons, such as lease violations, was a problem for landlords. The moratorium said tenants could only be evicted if they pose an “imminent threat to health or safety”.

“For too long, the county ordinance has harmed rental communities,” Pentico said. “Housing providers have not been able to take corrective action to tackle the nuisance that makes the lives of other residents miserable. “

San Diego County lawmakers have taken no action to extend their moratorium.

Supervisor Nora Vargas had introduced the ban citing fear that homeowners relocating homes could be used as a loophole to weed out tenants who couldn’t pay. Under the California moratorium, it’s legal for landlords to return to their properties now if they first provide tenants with a 60-day eviction notice. They are also allowed to evict tenants if they are planning major repairs to the rental property.

The Southern California Rental Housing Association sued the county over its moratorium on evictions, arguing it violated property rights under the U.S. Constitution. However, his argument was rejected in federal court.

US District Judge James Lorenz said the short-term nature of the law outweighed the hardship for homeowners. He also said the San Diego moratorium had an important public purpose and filled a significant loophole in statewide law.

Assuming state law is not extended, renters will be covered for three days under federal law after California law expires on September 30. Federal law states that the eviction ban only applies to areas where the spread of COVID-19 is high or substantial. San Diego County is classified as high; updates can be found on its website at covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.

In the San Diego metro area, 86.5% of tenants made full or partial payment in the first week of August, said RealPage, a provider of apartments and data analytics software based in Richardson, Texas.

This was higher than the national average of 80.2% and other major cities, such as Oakland (84.3%), Washington, DC (83.3%), Los Angeles (81.4%) and New York (75.2%). The highest payout percentage was in Providence, RI, at 94.1%, and the lowest was in New Orleans at 66.2%.

Eligible San Diego County tenants behind on payments to landlords can recover and future rent covered by relief programs. However, they must be able to provide documents proving that they have lost money to COVID-19 due to job loss or medical bills.

Once a letter has been submitted to the owner, the owner can apply online for specific programs in Chula Vista and in the City of San Diego, or in other areas covered by the San Diego County program.