Covid-19 Rent Debt

If you lost income due to COVID, and now owe rent debt in California, this page is for you. Some important things to know:

  1. You should apply for rental assistance! See directions below. (We advise that everyone apply for rental assistance unless you are part of a well-organized tenants association or tenants union that has made the strategic choice to collectively refuse assistance.)
  2. Your landlord can start trying to collect your rent debt on November 1, 2021.
  3. This debt is collectable in small claims and regular civil court.
  4. Fill out our Rent Debt Questionnaire (Coming soon!) for help in small claims court AND to help organize a collective response to rent debt: debtors unions!

If you apply for rent debt assistance, you will have more protections against eviction between October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, while rent assistance applications are processed. But you have to apply for rent assistance within fifteen days of learning that your landlord has applied.


Landlords and tenants can fill out the rent relief application here:

For more details on rent debt and tenant clinics visit:

Once you have applied for rent assistance, please set aside some time to fill out our Rent Debt Questionnaire (coming soon!). This questionnaire can help prepare you for small claims court, and help us organize larger groups of tenants who owe money in order to fight back collectively! For example, if many of us owe lots of debt to one landlord, we have some leverage over that landlord to make collective demands. Join us!