Resources for Tenants

Legal Aid of Sonoma County provides free, comprehensive representation for low-income tenants in housing matters, including eviction defense, Housing Choice Voucher issues, mobilehome park issues, and habitability issues.

Recursos Para Los Inquilanos en Espanol >>

Resources to Help Understand COVID-19 Protections for Tenants

Legal Aid of Sonoma County has created resources to help explain COVID-19 protections for tenants. These resources are designed to help Sonoma County tenants and landlords understand California’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief and local protections in Sonoma County.

Sonoma County Eviction Moratorium Protects Tenants Beyond September 30, 2021
Read the statement >>

Las protecciones de los inquilinos sobre la moratoria de desalojos del Condado de Sonoma se extiende después del 30 de Septiembre de 2021.
Lee la declaración >>

Resources Include:

  • Sonoma County Emergency Rental Assistance Program Flyer Download >>
  • Copy of a Declaration of COVID-19-Related Financial Distress Download >>
  • Monthly Rent Template Letter that tenants can send to their landlord instructing them to apply any rent payments to the current month – this version is for September but tenants can update it for any month they are able to make a rent payment. Download >>

Los Recursos Incluyen:

  • Copia de una Declaración de Socorro Financiero COVID-19-Relacionado Descargar >>
  • Folleto de una página sobre la programa de asistencia de alquiler de emergencia del condado de Sonoma Descargar >>
  • Carta de plantilla de alquiler mensual que los inquilinos pueden enviar a su arrendador indicándoles que apliquen cualquier pago de alquiler al mes actual – esta versión es para septiembre, pero los inquilinos pueden actualizarla para cualquier mes que puedan hacer un pago de alquiler. Descargar >>

Get Proactive as a Tenant

Here are proactive ways to advocate for yourself and bolster your rights as a tenant:

  • Attend City Council and Board of Supervisor meetings when housing policies that affect tenants are on the agenda. Let your elected officials know that you support tenant-friendly policies like rent stabilization and just cause for eviction!
  • Familiarize yourself with major provisions of landlord-tenant law.
  • Check your lease if you are unclear about something.
  • Try to maintain a positive, friendly relationship with your landlord.
  • Talk to your landlord when you have an issue.
  • Seek legal help.
  • Make reports to Code Enforcement if you feel your unit is not being adequately maintained by your landlord.
  • Pay your rent even if you think your landlord is doing something wrong. You can recover paid rent in Small Claims Court.
  • Document everything! Get receipts, take pictures, have witnesses, put important communications with your landlord in writing.
  • Talk to your neighbors. Form a tenants’ association or join the Sonoma County Tenants Union to get support. Contact the Sonoma County Tenants Union at 707-387-1984 or sctu707@gmail.com. Visit https://www.sonomatenants.org to learn more.

Additional Resources for Tenants

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal subsidy program that helps low-income families afford market-rate, private rental housing in the city limits of Santa Rosa. Voucher holders pay approximately 30–40% of their monthly income towards the rent. The City of Santa Rosa Housing Authority pays the balance of the rent to the owner within reasonable limits.

To qualify applicants’ annual gross income must be less than:

1 person – $40,750 2 persons – $46,550 3 persons – $52,350
4 persons – $58,150 5 persons – $62,850 6 persons – $67,500
7 persons – $72,150 8 persons – $76,800

Income guidelines may change.

Waiting List Opening:  Sept. 1, 2021 – Oct. 31, 2021

Beginning September 1, 2021, the Santa Rosa Housing Authority is opening the lottery for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program Waiting List. Residents who wish to be added to the lottery for a chance at placement on the waiting list must apply online between September 1 and October 31, 2021.

Submit Your Application:

  • To apply, go online HERE, create a profile, and complete your application.
  • Applications must be submitted between September 1 and October 31, 2021.
  • For more information or alternate access call 707-543-3324.

Housing Choice Voucher Program Waitlist Opens

Sonoma County Housing Authority’s waitlist for the Housing Choice Voucher program will open October 1, 2021. 

Applications are due Monday, Nov. 1, by 5 p.m. if submitted in person at the Housing Authority’s offices, or by 11:59 p.m. if submitted online. Applications can be completed online at waitlistcheck.com/CA085 or in person at the Housing Authority’s offices located at 1440 Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa. Office hours are from Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m

Seven hundred and fifty applicants will be randomly selected, screened for eligibility, and notified in early December that they have a place on the new waitlist. Those who are not selected this time will be notified and are welcome to reapply when the waitlist reopens in approximately 24 months. This program is formerly known as the Section 8 program – provides financial assistance to very low-income individuals and families to enable them to afford housing in the private rental housing market. You can verify if you are income-eligible by visiting Sonoma County Housing Authority Page.