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  • Writer's pictureDavis Yu

On the Brink of Expiring, California Extends Eviction Moratorium

September 1, 2020

eviction notice in a red envelope

California’s statewide eviction moratorium was initially set to expire on September 1, causing many renters to worry about upcoming evictions. The statewide moratorium was put into effect to prohibit the eviction of tenants if they are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. All eviction proceedings were also temporarily suspended unless necessary to protect public health and safety.

On Monday, August 31, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 3088, also known as the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020. The measure is intended to further protect residential tenants from evictions for unpaid rent until January 31,2021; however, there are stricter guidelines for both residential landlords and tenants to consider.

The terms of Assembly Bill 3088 are as follows:

  • For any rent missed between March 1 to August 31, landlords can sue tenants in small claims court to collect on the missed rent beginning in March 2021. Landlords are still prohibited from evicting tenants based on nonpayment.

  • For any rent missed between September 1 and January 31, tenants are required to pay 25% of the missed rent within that period. If rental payments are not made by January 31, 2021, tenants will be subject to eviction starting in February. The remaining 75% of the missed rent will be treated like civil debt. Landlords can bring legal action against tenants to collect and tenants may be evicted.

  • As of February 1, tenants will be required to make full payments.

Tenants are required to deliver a declaration to their landlords, under penalty of perjury, that they have lost income due to the pandemic. There are also specific guidelines for high-income tenants seeking financial assistance. Tenants who earn 130% of a county’s median income or higher are considered to be high-income renters. Landlords have the right to request high-income renters to submit supporting documentation, under penalty of perjury, of financial hardship related to the pandemic. Such documentation may include a letter from your employer, an unemployment insurance record, or medical bills.

Prior to proceeding with legal action to evict, landlords are required to provide a 15-day notice, instead of the usual 3-day eviction notice, that informs tenants of the balance owed. Should landlords also require supporting documentation of financial hardship, the request must also be stated in the 15-day notice. Tenants who do not provide such proof and documentation to their landlords may be subject to eviction for nonpayment beginning on October 5.

Moreover, the Tenant Act precludes cities and counties that have adopted eviction moratoriums in response to the pandemic from passing additional extensions.

For many, these new measures have provided temporary relief. Although the state’s unemployment rate has been slightly decreasing, numbers remain alarmingly high and many are still struggling to earn income. Lawmakers acknowledge that more work needs to be done in order to address this ongoing issue.

This article is specific to the laws of the State of California and is intended for informational purposes only. The article should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion based on any specific facts or circumstances. For specific questions related to this article, please contact an attorney.



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