Gov. Gavin Newsom extended eviction moratorium authority on May 29, 2020. The new order allows local governments to extend prohibitions on landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts until July 28, 2020. This means that landlords may have few remedies available if local governments do not adopt additional measures. However, to understand the impact of this order, it must be read in conjunction with other orders that were also passed.
On March 5, 2020, Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19, which continues to remain in place. On March 27, 2020, Gov. Newsom issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. In the interim, on April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California took Gov. Newsom’s order one step further and issued an emergency rule suspending eviction actions. Under the Judicial Council’s rule, a court cannot issue a summons on a complaint for an eviction unless the court finds that the action is necessary to protect public health and safety. The rule applies until 90 days after Gov. Newsom lifts the state of emergency or the Judicial Council amends or repeals the rule. Gov. Newsom’s order was silent as to the state of emergency.
Gov. Newsom’s Order Is Only Applicable If:
Tenants are not protected under Gov. Newsom’s order if they do not abide by the above requirements and are only protected if their local governments adopt additional measures. However, tenants remain protected under the Judicial Council of California’s rule until 90 days after California’s state of emergency is lifted.
What Should Landlords Do in the Interim?
Gov. Newsom’s extension of his March 27, 2020, order should come as no surprise to landlords. Even so, Gov. Newsom’s order does not supersede the Judicial Council’s rule, which extends further than his 60-day extension assuming that the state of emergency has not been lifted. Thus, landlords should remain patient. Landlords should delicately remind their tenants that rent is not waived, but deferred. Landlords should encourage tenants to pay what they can so that tenants can effectively pay all deferred payments when the time comes. The goal is to develop a plan where tenants can stay housed while still meeting their obligations as a tenant.