CARLSBAD — In the first of several moves, the City Council approved a temporary suspension of commercial evictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During its April 7 meeting, the council agreed to halt those processes as local businesses have been slammed with decreasing revenues, staffing and business, along with others who have temporarily closed their doors.
The suspension is effective immediately and suspends evictions for non-payment of rent, according to Cindie McMahon, assistant city attorney. Once the state of emergency is lifted, so too, will the temporary eviction order, after an amendment to the staff report by the council.
“The resolution does not allow a commercial tenant to delay paying any rent the tenant is able to pay,” she added. “It also does not relieve a commercial tenant of liability for any unpaid rent or applicable late fees. It does not prevent a landlord and tenant from agreeing to alternative payment arrangements.”
To qualify, a tenant must be current on their rent prior to the state of emergency, notify the landlord in writing declaring the inability to pay and provide documentation of the inability to pay due to the coronavirus outbreak, McMahon said. All those requirements must be related to the COVID-19 pandemic and is not a forgiveness of unpaid rent.
Also, a landlord may seek unpaid rent and late fees after the temporary suspension, while a tenant must pay unpaid rent and late fees within three months after the suspension ends; unless an alternative solution has been negotiated.
In addition, the council also approved an ad hoc committee for economic revitalization for businesses. The committee consists of Mayor Matt Hall and Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel.
According to Tina Ray, the city’s communications director, staff is already working on options for the committee and how much will be made available.
The committee and staff is expected to have recommendations available in the next week or several weeks for council approval.
Several other cities in San Diego County have already established economic relief programs. San Marcos has made $3 million available in short-term loans from up to $10,000 to $50,000 with several repayment options.
The Carlsbad City Council also approved $3 million from its economic uncertainty reserve funds in the General Fund to cover related expenses due to the pandemic. The fund currently has $19.1 million.