The city of Santa Maria has adopted a temporary moratorium on landlords from evicting residential and commercial tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, for failure to pay rent.

The order applies to nonpayment eviction notices, no-fault eviction notices, and unlawful detainer actions based on such notices, served or filed after Monday, March 16.

Both residential and commercial tenants must provide their landlords, in writing (including by e-mail or text), proof of the financial impacts relating to COVID-19 why they cannot pay some or all of the rent due.

The order does not relieve tenants of liability for the unpaid rent, which the landlord may seek after expiration of the local emergency, and the tenant must pay within six months of the expiration of the local emergency.

The City Council on Tuesday night gave unanimous approval to ratify the actions of the city manager as director of Emergency Services, who previously proclaimed a local emergency. Additionally, the council provided unanimous consensus for the director of Emergency Services to issue the moratorium as described above.

Direct questions to Mark van de Kamp, public information manager, 805-925-0951 ext. 2372.