San Diego Enacts Emergency Moratorium on Evictions, Creates Relief Fund for Local Businesses

City Council Approves Mayor’s Small Business Relief Package; Law Temporarily Halting Evictions for Covid-19 Related Hardships Takes Effect Immediately

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE 

San Diego – Continuing to take aggressive steps to protect the health and welfare of San Diegans, the City of San Diego today enacted an eviction moratorium that provides relief to residential and commercial tenants facing financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City Council also unanimously approved a multimillion-dollar Small Business Relief Fund proposed last week by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

With the backing of Mayor Faulconer and Council President Gómez, the emergency law temporarily halting evictions in the City of San Diego was passed unanimously and goes into effect immediately. It will last until May 31, 2020. Tenants must demonstrate a substantial decrease in income or medical expenses caused by COVID-19 in order to qualify. It will not relieve a tenant of their requirement to pay rent or restrict a landlord from recovering rent at a future time.

“San Diegans shouldn’t have to worry about losing their home or storefront during this public health emergency, and now relief is here,” Mayor Faulconer said. “The temporary eviction moratorium is accompanied by millions of dollars to help small businesses stay afloat and keep San Diegans employed. I applaud the City Council, City Attorney and City staff for taking quick action to help our community.”

The ordinance is necessary to prevent homelessness, maintain public health, and bring housing and business stability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week the State of California authorized local governments to temporarily halt evictions for residential and commercial tenants, but the state action does not provide relief unless cities adopt their own laws as San Diego now has.

The temporary eviction moratorium seeks to strike a balance between the interests of tenants, landlords and lenders. The emergency ordinance protects tenants against evictions if they can document their income has been substantially reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or if they are experiencing medical bills as a result of illness related to the coronavirus. If the tenant does not provide evidence of financial impact related to COVID-19 within a specified timeframe, the landlord may pursue enforcement action in accordance with state and local laws. All owed rent is due upon move-out if a tenant decides to relocate while this emergency ordinance is in effect.

It also directs City staff to develop a strategy to work with banks and lenders to halt mortgage payments or foreclosures for individuals and landlords who have suffered severe loss of wages and income due to the health crisis.

“I want to thank my Council colleagues and the Mayor for standing with me and making sure no one loses their home in the middle of a public health emergency and growing economic crisis,” Council President Georgette Gómez said. “Most of our small businesses have been forced to close, and countless San Diegans are losing work and income as we try to slow the spread of the virus. Today, we let struggling residents and small businesses owners know that we have their back.”

The City Council also voted in support of Mayor Faulconer’s proposal to create a Small Business Relief Fund. The Mayor has grown the fund from approximately $4 million to $6 million since he introduced it last week as part of a broader economic relief package.

The fund was created to help local employers sustain operations, retain employees and address the unforeseen reduction in production and consumer demand. The City will use it to make microloans available to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance will range from $10,000 to $20,000 and will be allocated to eligible small businesses based on the availability of funds and program guidelines. To be eligible, businesses must meet the following requirements:

  • Employ 100 or fewer Full-Time Equivalent employees
  • Have a City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate
  • Provide documentation that shows the business has been operational for at least 6 months
  • Provide proof of economic hardship due to COVID-19
  • Not have engaged in any illegal activity per local, state or federal regulations


For more information and to apply for assistance, please visit: Economic Assistance for San Diego Businesses Affected by COVID-19 

More information on the State of California “Stay At Home” order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state can be found on the California Covid-19 response website.

For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from the County of San Diego public health officials, please visit

For the latest City operational updates and steps the public can take to help reduce the spread of the disease, please visit

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