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On March 27, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order giving the Judicial Council of California authority to take necessary action to respond to the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California adopted emergency rules, including Emergency rule 1. Unlawful detainers, which prevents courts from issuing a summons on unlawful detainer complaints or issuing defaults in such actions, unless “necessary to protect public health and safety”; and continues trials in any unlawful detainer actions for at least 60 days, with no new trials to be set until at least 60 days after a request for trial is filed. On August 13, 2020, the Judicial Council voted to end temporary emergency rule 1 effective as of midnight on September 1, 2020. In a statement, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye stated: “The judicial branch cannot usurp the responsibility of the other two branches on a long-term basis to deal with the myriad impacts of the pandemic. The duty of the judicial branch is to resolve disputes under the law and not to legislate. So I urge our sister branches to act expeditiously to resolve this looming crisis.”

It should be noted that the California legislature is currently considering emergency legislation to protect renters from being evicted due to an inability to pay rent as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the federal government along with various cities and counties have enacted eviction moratoriums. Landlords are required to comply with all applicable eviction moratoriums (federal, state, county and city). Before taking action to terminate a tenancy, it is imperative to consult with legal counsel to determine if any eviction moratoriums apply to a rental property and, if so, what legal duties are imposed by such moratoriums.

The law firm of Wallace, Richardson, Sontag & Le, LLP represents landlords, property management companies, institutional and private lenders, employers and insurance companies throughout the State of California in real estate, business and employment litigation. The information provided herein is for general interest only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice.

August 17, 2020 | Landlord-Tenant Law |