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Once the moratorium expires, tenants will have up to three months to pay all of the rent owed. Courtesy photo
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Escondido City Council enacts temporary moratorium on evictions

ESCONDIDO — The Escondido City Council unanimously voted April 8 to temporarily suspend evictions of residential and commercial tenants who are unable to pay rent.

The ordinance makes it unlawful to evict a residential or commercial tenant in Escondido if the tenant has provided notice to their landlord that they are unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.

The mandate follows an executive order issued on March 27 by Gov. Gavin Newsom creating a statewide eviction moratorium.

Councilman Michael Morasco told The Coast News that Escondido’s ordinance serves as an additional layer of protection for the city’s residents and business owners.

“It creates a situation where someone could get something responded to or corrected or facilitated sooner rather than later,” Morasco said. “We’re probably able to move on things faster at the local level than the county or the state would be able to.”

The ordinance will expire on May 31, unless extended by the council, after which, tenants will have up to three months to pay all of the rent owed.

“We’ve been receiving emails and calls from citizens who had questions about whether or not the City of Escondido was going to participate and create this type of ordinance that would benefit renters in this time of crisis,” Morasco said. “I think it’s something that everyone felt equally strong about that this had to occur.”

Escondido is one of the last few cities in the county to enact an eviction moratorium, joining the city of San Diego, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, San Marcos and Oceanside who all passed similar orders last month.

“We have tried to be measured and deliberate, and to not overreact. As you look at the decisions made across the county, I think there have been some decisions made a bit prematurely,” Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara said. “We’ve tried to not be too late to the game, while also protecting our residents and making sure we’ve thought through what the consequences are.”

As of now, there is no subsidy or funds being provided for landlords, but, according to the mayor, the expectation and hope is that there will eventually be some sort of relief package for landlords either at the state or the federal level.

In the meantime, McNamara told The Coast News that the city will continue to assess the impact the outbreak is having on the community, and what the city can do to help.

“There’s two parts to this virus: The first part is the disease itself and how many people might get sick and, sadly, how many people may die,” McNamara said. “The second part is the economic toll. This is uncharted waters, but we’ll continue to try to find the right balance.”

The City Council will revisit the ordinance at the end of May to decide whether to extend it.

Roundup: How the council voted in the city’s first meeting of April

The Escondido City Council held their first meeting of the month last Wednesday, April 8, via teleconference to discuss city user fees, two community facilities districts and a temporary moratorium on evictions.

Here’s a roundup of how the council voted.

City User Fees

 A hearing was held on city user fees, which requested that the City Council adopt Resolution No. 2020-29 approving proposed adjustments to Escondido’s user fees. The council approved the motion 4-0.

According to the City Council staff report, the city provides services in response to customer requests, and fees are charged to recover the costs of staff time, administrative costs and related expenses.

Current user fees no longer cover the costs of providing services and are currently absorbed by the City’s general fund.

The user fee adjustments will update existing city user fees to ensure full cost recovery.

Community Facilities District No. 2020-1 & Community Facilities District No. 2020-2

 The council also unanimously approved the resolution of intention to establish CFD No. 2020-1, a citywide district to fund municipal services required for new development, and CFD No. 2020-2 (The Villages Project) will fund public facilities.

CFD No. 2020-1 was approved with the goal of making new development revenue neutral, according to the staff report. The services to be funded through the CFD include public safety, maintenance and administrative expenses for services provided by the City.

The Villages Project establishes the issuance of bonds to fund public facilities associated with the Project.

Temporary Eviction Moratorium

The biggest decision of the night was the unanimous approval by the City Council to temporarily suspend evictions of residential and commercial tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.

The ordinance makes it unlawful to evict a residential or commercial tenant in Escondido if the tenant has provided notice to their landlord that they are unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.

The motion comes after the council issued a Local Emergency Proclamation last month related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The eviction moratorium will expire on May 31, unless extended by the council.

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1 comment

Cindy Collins May 21, 2020 at 8:45 pm

May 21, 2020. Has the council extended the May 31 eviction moratorium? I don’t know how people are going to catch up past rent on top of paying regular rent. I make $2000/mo and to catch up my rent I’ll have to pay over that per month just for rent. Help!

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