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Governor of California Issues Eviction Moratorium

On March 27, 2020, the Governor of California issued Executive Order N-37-20. This executive order delays the eviction process for tenants who show that they are unable to pay rent due to the novel corona virus (COVID-19). The executive order is summarized below.

I.    Background

On March 4, 2020, Governor Newson declared a State of Emergency to exist in California due to the threat of COVID-19. On March 16, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order N-28-20 suspending state law restrictions on local jurisdictions that impose restrictions on evictions, subject to certain limitations. On March 20, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court issued guidance for superior courts to suspend most civil trials and hearings for at least 60 days. On March 23, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court suspended all jury trials for 60 days.

     A.     Extension of Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) Process

             1.    More Time For Tenant to Respond to Unlawful Detainer Complaint

The deadline for a tenant to respond to an unlawful detainer (eviction) complaint is extended from 5 days to 65 days for any tenant who is served, while this executive order is in effect, with a complaint that seeks to evict the tenant from a residence or dwelling unit for nonpayment of rent and who satisfies all of the following requirements:

(a)  Prior to the date of this order, the tenant paid rent due to the landlord pursuant to an agreement.

(b)  The tenant notifies the landlord in writing before the rent is due, or within a reasonable period of time afterwards not to exceed 7 days, that the tenant needs to delay all or some payment of rent because of an inability to pay the full amount due to reasons related to COVID-19, including but not limited to the following:

(i)  The tenant was unavailable to work because the tenant was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19;

(ii)  The tenant experienced a lay-off, loss of hours, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19, the state of emergency, or related government response; or

(iii)  The tenant needed to miss work to care for a child whose school was closed in response to COVID-19.

(c)  The tenant retains verifiable documentation, such as termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining the tenant’s changed financial circumstances, to support the tenant’s assertion of an inability to pay. This documentation may be provided to the landlord no later than the time upon payment of back-due rent.

     B.     Delay of Sheriff Lockout

No writ may be enforced while this order is in effect to evict a tenant from a residence or dwelling unit for nonpayment of rent who satisfies the requirements of subparagraphs (a)-(c), above. A writ is the document issued by the court that directs the Sheriff to conduct a lockout.

     C.     When Protections Expire

The protections are in effect through May 31, 2020.

     D.     Tenant Not Relieved of Liability for Unpaid Rent

The order does not prevent a tenant who is able to pay all or some of the rent due from paying that rent in a timely manner or relieve a tenant of liability for unpaid rent.

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.

March 31, 2020 | Landlord-Tenant Law |