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.

Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent: If you lost income or have increased expenses from COVID-19, your landlord cannot evict you, as long you as you take steps to protect yourself.

Evictions Unrelated to Nonpayment of Rent: If you live in Sonoma County, you cannot be evicted unless there is an imminent threat to health or safety OR your landlord is taking the property off the rental market.

Resources Include:

  • One-page flyer about COVID-19 protections for tenants Download >>
  • FAQ for Tenants – COVID-19 Tenant Protections Download >>
  • 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:

  • Folleto de una página sobre las nuevas protecciones COVID-19 para inquilinos
    Descargar >>
  • Preguntas Frecuentes: COVID-19 protecciones de inquilinos Descargar >>
  • 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