(Image courtesy of apt mags.com)

The Oakland City Council voted unanimously at a special meeting on Friday to approve an emergency ordinance imposing a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions, rent increases and late fees during the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The move by the City Council follows similar eviction moratoriums that have been passed by other local governments in the Bay Area in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Shortly before the council voted on the matter at about 1:30 p.m. on Friday following nearly two and a half hours of discussion, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning the eviction for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31.

Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan.

Newsom said his order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts.

Newsom said his action builds on a previous order he issued authorizing local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the pandemic.

City Councilwoman Nikki Fortunato Bas, one of the sponsors of Oakland’s ordinance, said at Friday’s meeting that she welcomes Newsom’s order, but added, “It’s still important to vote (on the ordinance) today because it addresses our specific needs in Oakland.”

City Council President Rebecca Kaplan said the eviction moratorium is important because, “I’ve talked to many people who are scared because they’ve been laid off and are in limbo.”

Kaplan said, “They’re at great risk of losing the roofs over their heads because they can’t pay the rent.”

Kaplan said, “Tenants are still being served eviction notices and small businesses don’t know if they will survive this crisis.”

Oakland’s ordinance expires on May 31, unless it’s extended.