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Legal Alert

Newsom Temporarily Bans Evictions of Residential Tenant’s Impacted by COVID-19

Newsom Temporarily Bans Evictions of Residential Tenant’s Impacted by COVID-19

On March 27, 2020 California Governor, Gavin Newsom, issued Executive Order N-37-20 (“Order”), temporarily restricting the ability of landlords to evict residential tenants for nonpayment of rent if the failure to pay rent is due to the impacts of the COVID-19 Coronavirus (“COVID-19”). Tenants seeking to avoid an eviction based upon the Order must have paid all rent due to the landlord prior to March 27, 2020 and must notify the landlord, in writing (“Required Tenant Notice”), that the tenant needs to delay all or some payment of rent because of an inability to pay due to reasons related to COVID-19, including but not limited to the following:

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

The Required Tenant Notice must be given to the landlord no later than seven days after the date the rent payment is otherwise due. Tenants are also required to retain verifiable documentation to support the tenant's assertion of an inability to pay such as bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining the tenant's changed financial circumstances.

The protections of the Order became effective on March 27, 2020 and by its terms will terminate on May 31, 2020. Nothing in the Order requires landlords to waive rent or provides that rent payable to a landlord is not, in fact, due during this time. Rather, the Order restricts the ability of law enforcement to enforce any eviction order against a tenant that meets the conditions of the Order and gives tenants sixty days (rather than the usual five days) to respond to any unlawful detainer action served on a tenant while the Order is effective. Consequently, landlords may send notices of default and file unlawful detainer actions for failure to pay rent while the Order is effective. The timeframe for obtaining unlawful detainer judgements and the ability to have an eviction order enforced, however, will continue to be affected by the Order through the May 31, 2020 termination date.

The Order follows an earlier Executive Order issued by the Governor authorizing local governments to pass their own bans or restrictions on evictions (please see an earlier Alert on this topic). Los Angeles and several Bay Area counties have also enacted local eviction restrictions in response to the previous order that may affect the ability of a landlord to evict residential (and in some cases commercial) tenants.

For More Information, Please Contact:

K. Bradley Rogerson
K. Bradley Rogerson
San Rafael Market Leader
San Francisco, CA
San Rafael, CA