Los Angeles County Extends Eviction Moratorium through June 30, 2021

 

When will the pain end for Los Angeles county landlords, especially small mom-and-pop landlords? Not anytime soon, thanks to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. On February 23, 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the county moratorium on evictions through June 30, 2021. But that’s not all. The Board also voted to add additional tenant protections at the expense of landlords throughout the county. This article will outline some of the main parts to the Los Angeles county eviction moratorium and its extension through June 30, 2021.

The LA county eviction moratorium protects tenants much more than the state law, SB 91. Under the LA county eviction moratorium, in effect through June 30, 2021, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for a no-fault reason. Further, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for nuisance, unauthorized occupants, or pets, if COVID-related. Even more absurd is that a landlord can be denied entry to their own property, unless the reason for the entry has to do with making substantial repairs that endangers health or safety, or if the tenant is causing or threatening to cause substantial damage. (Even though the tenant may not have been paying rent for many months, the landlord is still obligated to maintain the habitability of the property and make repairs.) Landlords are prohibited from harassing tenants or taking retaliatory action against a tenant, and the moratorium has a long list of what could be considered as harassment or retaliation. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), there is a lack of protections for landlords when the tenant is harassing or retaliating against the landlord.

One of the most shocking items in the Los Angeles county eviction moratorium is that if a landlord violates the moratorium, the county can impose administrative fines against the landlord. Further, any tenant, or any other person or entity acting on behalf of the tenant, including the county, may file a civil action against the landlord/owner. There is also the possibility of criminal liability for landlords/owners who violate the moratorium. There is no “warning” requirement, meaning, if a landlord accidentally violates one of the rules, the landlord is liable without pre-existing warning or notice. There will be many landlords, especially small mom-and-pop landlords, who have no intention of violating the LA county eviction moratorium, but due to the many complexities and outrageous rules imposed, may inadvertently violate a rule, opening themselves up to potential liability. To show some semblance of fairness, the county should at least require notice to the owner of an alleged violation and provide the owner a reasonable opportunity to cure the violation prior to allowing someone to take action against the landlord for an alleged violation. As of February 24, 2021, there is no such notice requirement in the moratorium.

The Los Angeles county eviction moratorium applies in all unincorporated parts of the county and, effective September 1, 2020, it also applies to incorporated cities if the city doesn’t have their own eviction moratorium that provides greater protections than the county moratorium.

The State of California already has in place statewide renter protections under SB 91. The Los Angeles county eviction moratorium is in addition to the statewide renter protections.

Additional Information

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SB 91 / AB 80: California has Extended the COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium through June 30, 2021

 

On Friday, January 29, 2021, California Governor Newsom signed an extension of the AB 3088 eviction moratorium into law. This law prohibits some, but not all, evictions. Under the SB 91 extension, many evictions cannot move forward until after June 30, 2021.

This article is not meant to explain all of SB 91. Rather, the primary focus of this post is to discuss aspects of SB 91 dealing with evictions. Furthermore this is not intended to be legal advice and provides only a high-level overview of the SB 91 eviction moratorium and touches on some of the main points of the law relating to evictions. These restrictions on evictions are in effect immediately. Landlords wanting to discuss their particular potential eviction should schedule a paid eviction consultation with us. SB 91 is a new law and interpretation is subject to change. Consult legal counsel before taking any action.

SB 91 Does Not Ban All Evictions

While SB 91 prohibits many evictions through June 30, 2021, it does not prohibit all evictions. To be sure, the courts are still accepting new unlawful detainer (eviction) filings are are continuing to process existing unlawful detainers. There are, however, more requirements for an unlawful detainer filing (see article here on UD-101) and parties can expect more delays than what occur under normal circumstances.

So, what types of unlawful detainer eviction cases are permitted to move forward now? SB 91 identifies what types of unlawful detainer evictions can move forward prior to July 1, 2021. Per CCP 1179.03.5:

(a) Before July 1, 2021, a court may not find a tenant guilty of an unlawful detainer unless it finds that one of the following applies:

(1) The tenant was guilty of the unlawful detainer before March 1, 2020.

(2) In response to service of a notice demanding payment of COVID-19 rental debt pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 798.56 of the Civil Code or paragraph (2) or (3) of Section 1161, the tenant failed to comply with the requirements of Section 1179.03.

(3) (A) The unlawful detainer arises because of a termination of tenancy for any of the following:

(i) An at-fault just cause, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code.

(ii) (I) A no-fault just cause, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code, other than intent to demolish or to substantially remodel the residential real property, as defined in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1946.2.

(II) Notwithstanding subclause (I), termination of a tenancy based on intent to demolish or to substantially remodel the residential real property shall be permitted if necessary to maintain compliance with the requirements of Section 1941.1 of the Civil Code, Section 17920.3 or 17920.10 of the Health and Safety Code, or any other applicable law governing the habitability of residential rental units.

(iii) The owner of the property has entered into a contract for the sale of that property with a buyer who intends to occupy the property, and all the requirements of paragraph (8) of subdivision (e) of Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code have been satisfied.

What does this mean in plain English? The easiest way to explain the types of evictions that can proceed now is as follows:

  1. Guilty Before March 1, 2020: If the tenant was guilty of unlawful detainer before March 1, 2020 (which is when the AB3088 eviction moratorium was made retroactive to), then those cases can move forward.
  2. Non-Payment of Rent: If the landlord adheres to all the temporary AB 3088 / SB 91 restrictions relating to non-payment of rent, and the tenant fails to return the declaration to the landlord and fulfill the tenant requirements under the temporary law, the landlord is permitted to bring forth an action for unlawful detainer now. (Caution: Even if the tenant fails to return the declaration to the landlord and therefore the landlord initiates an unlawful detainer against the tenant, the tenant has the right under the law to try and get the case dismissed under certain conditions.)
  3. The Tenant is “At-Fault”: Other than non-payment of rent, evictions can proceed if the tenant is at-fault, as defined in Civil Code 1946.2(b)(1). The tenant is “at-fault” when they are doing something that they are not supposed to do, or not doing something that they are supposed to do. Examples include if the tenant is breaching a material term of the rental agreement, committing a nuisance, damaging the property, or using the property for an unlawful purpose.
  4. The Eviction is for “No-Fault”: A no-fault eviction is an eviction where the landlord needs the property back not because the tenant is “misbehaving,” but rather for another reason. There are limited reasons under Civil Code 1946.2(b)(2) that allow a landlord to evict a tenant for a no-fault reason. Examples include if the owner or owner’s relative needs to move into the property or if the landlord received a government order which requires the vacating of the property. To be clear, to qualify under no-fault, the no-fault reason must be outlined in the Civil Code in order to proceed with a no-fault eviction at this time. Even properties that are normally exempt from just-cause eviction requirements are NOT exempt under SB 91 and AB 3088.
  5. The Owner of the Rental Property is Selling the Property: If the rental property is a single family residence and certain requirements are met, a landlord is permitted to evict the tenant if the owner has entered into a contract to sell the property with a buyer who intends to live at the property.

If the reason for the eviction doesn’t fit into one of the above categories or is not for a health and safety reason, then the eviction cannot be brought during the SB 91 / AB 3088 eviction moratorium. It is also important to note that SB 91 expands retaliation prohibitions. A landlord cannot use a different reason for eviction when the real underlying reason is non-payment of rent.

15 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit

The 15 day notice to pay rent or quit requirements under AB 3088 have been extended through June 30, 2021. In addition to serving the 15 day notice to pay rent or quit, landlords must include a notice from the State of California which outlines tenant rights, and concurrently provide the tenant with an unsigned declaration. The unsigned declaration form has been updated to include language reflecting the new expiration date of the moratorium and explains that the tenant may qualify for rental assistance.

There are different 15 day notice requirements depending on if the rent is for March 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020 (“protected time period”) or September 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 (“transition time period”). For the transition time period, tenants will need to pay 25% of the rent incurred between September 2020 and June 2021 in order to be protected from unlawful detainer. Unless the tenant is high-income as it is defined in the law, landlords are prohibited from asking for documentation to prove that the reason for non-payment is COVID-related.

Schedule a call with us to discuss specifics relating to your case.

Good to Know About the SB 91 California Eviction Moratorium

  1. Rent control in local jurisdictions may provide additional restrictions on evictions. Be sure to check rent control laws. For example, Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County are two jurisdictions that have local eviction restrictions in effect. Both LA City and LA County disallow no-fault evictions at this time.
  2. Rental assistance is coming for some landlords and tenants.
  3. Even if a landlord is prohibited from evicting a tenant for non-payment of COVID debt, landlords may still be able to bring forth a small claims court case or regular civil action against a tenant, eventually.
  4. Regardless of whether or not the landlord intends to serve the tenant with a 15 day notice to pay or quit, landlords are required under SB 91 to serve a notice from the State of California on the tenant no later than February 28, 2021, if the tenant owes any rent for the period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending on February 1, 2021.

Additional Resources Related to SB 91 and Evictions

  1. Schedule a paid 15 or 30 minute telephone consultation to discuss your particular case.
  2. Watch our SB 91 eviction moratorium video.
  3. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to receive up-to-date eviction information and landlord best practices.
  4. Read our article on AB 3088.
  5. Read the news release on SB 91 from Governor Newsom.
  6. Read the full text of SB 91.
  7. LA Times article.
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UD-101: Plaintiff’s Mandatory Cover Sheet and Supplemental Allegations – Unlawful Detainer

 

The California courts, through the Judicial Council, released a new form effective October 5, 2020. The new form is UD-101, and is called the “Plaintiff’s Mandatory Cover Sheet and Supplemental Allegations – Unlawful Detainer.”

UD-101 Judicial Council Form

As if the bias against landlords and property owners wasn’t enough already, the Judicial Council of California released a new form UD-101. This “Plaintiff’s Mandatory Cover Sheet and Supplemental Allegations – Unlawful Detainer” form is now mandatory and must be filed by plaintiffs (property owners) in eviction cases. This four page form is detailed and requires landlords to outline many aspects of the landlord’s case and explain why the eviction should be allowed to proceed during the COVID-19 era.

The UD-101 Form Far Exceeds What AB3088 Requires

AB3088, which includes the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, requires landlords/plaintiff’s to file a supplemental cover sheet when filing a new unlawful detainer action. The law requires the following information only: whether the eviction is for possession of residential or commercial property, and whether the eviction is based on non-payment of rent. That’s it — nothing else. See section 1179.01.5. These questions can be answered in section 2 of Judicial Council form UD-101, which is why question 2 on UD-101 states, “Statutory cover sheet allegations.” Everything else on UD-101: Plaintiff’s Mandatory Cover Sheet and Supplemental Allegations-Unlawful Detainer are not required under AB3088 to be in a cover sheet filed with an eviction matter, but the Judicial Council is now requiring form UD-101 as a mandatory form. The bias against landlords is clearly evident.

Obtaining a Copy of UD-101

The Judicial Council Form UD-101 can be downloaded here [PDF].

Have UD-101 or Other Eviction Questions?

During these complicated times, the Law Office of David Piotrowski is assisting landlords/property owners in California by providing paid consultations. Owners may schedule a call with us to discuss the current eviction rules and regulations. During the call, we will answer your specific landlord/eviction questions. Many landlords find the consultation to be extremely helpful in navigating the various complicated eviction laws and how they may pertain to a particular case. Landlords can schedule and pay for the consultation to discuss form UD-101 and many other eviction nuances here. Learn more about the Law Office of David Piotrowski here.

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AB3088 – Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (Video)

 

This video provides an overview of AB3088 – the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020.

A blog article on AB3088 – the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 can be read here. Landlords seeking a paid consultation to discuss a particular eviction matter during the COVID-19 era can schedule the appointment here.

Follow the Law Office of David Piotrowski on the following sites to receive current news and best practices relating to evictions:

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COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB 3088)

 

This article is written for California landlords and discusses the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB 3088), which is part of the urgency legislation that was signed into law by Governor Newsom. This law is anti-landlord and provides additional eviction restrictions to protect tenants from being evicted through the end of January 2021, with some exceptions.

This article is not intended to be legal advice and provides only a high-level overview of the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB3088) and touches on some of the main points of the law relating to evictions, which is effective now. Landlords wanting to discuss their particular potential eviction should schedule a paid eviction consultation with us.

Note: This is a new law and interpretation is subject to change. Consult legal counsel before taking any action.

Non-Payment of Rent Cases under the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB 3088)

The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 applies to all non-payment of rent cases between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021. Landlords will need to serve a 15 day notice to pay or quit, instead of the normal 3 day notice. The notice must include a blank declaration that a tenant can sign and return to the landlord. Except for high income tenants, as defined in the law, the tenant is not required to provide any documentation whatsoever as proof that they have been been financially impacted by COVID, meaning, landlords must take the tenant’s word for it if the tenant signs and returns a declaration to the landlord. For rent between September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021, the tenant would have to pay 25% of the rent owed, prior to January 31, 2021. If a tenant meets these very small requirements, then a landlord cannot move forward with an eviction for non-payment of rent prior to February 2021!

High income tenants (and only if the landlord has knowledge of the high income already), can be required to provide documentation to support their claim of being impacted by COVID, if the landlord requests such documentation in the 15 day notice.

If the tenant returns a signed declaration to the landlord for the March 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020 rent, then the tenant is protected from being evicted for non-payment of rent. Beginning in March 2021, tenants can be sued in small claims court over these missed payments, but not in eviction court, meaning, the tenant cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent for unpaid rent for the months of March 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020, so long as the tenant returns a signed declaration to the landlord and no documentation is necessary to support the tenant’s claim (except for high income tenants).

With respect to rent for the September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021 period, if the tenant returns a signed declaration to the landlord and pays 25% of the rent that was due from September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021, then the tenant cannot be evicted for the non-payment. It is important to note that while the tenant is supposed to return the signed declaration to the landlord within 15 days of being served with the notice to pay or quit, the tenant is not required to pay the 25% rent requirement until January 31, 2021, which effectively means if the tenant returns the declaration to the landlord, the landlord cannot move forward with the eviction case until February 2021. If, by January 31, 2021, the tenant submits a payment equal to 25% of the rent that was incurred between September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021, then the landlord is barred from evicting the tenant, and the landlord’s recourse for the unpaid 75% would be a small claims case against the tenant. If the tenant fails to pay the 25% by January 31, 2021, then the landlord would be allowed to file an eviction for non-payment of rent, beginning in February 2021.

You may have noticed a distinction is made between unpaid rent incurred between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020, versus September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021, and the law requires the landlord to provide a different declaration form to their tenants depending on if the past-due rent is for March 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020, or for September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021. Two notices must be provided to tenants if past-due rent includes both timeframes.

If the tenant fails to return the signed declaration to the landlord within 15 days of being served with the 15 day notice to pay or quit, then the landlord is permitted to move forward with the eviction case beginning in October 2020. However, if during the eviction case, the tenant files a motion and claims mistake or something similar and submits the aforementioned declaration during the pending court case, the court is directed to dismiss the eviction case, effectively cancelling the case even though the tenant failed to follow the directions, and even though the landlord has already spent time and money on the case.

Landlords who have tenants who have missed a rent payment from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020 must provide the tenant with a required notice outlining the tenant rights under the law. We offer this template form and it can be ordered from us for $50. The notice is required to be provided to the tenant by September 30, 2020.

Under the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, any 3 day notice to pay or quit that was served from March 1, 2020 to September 1, 2020 (before the new law took effect), is invalid and a new 15 day notice will need to be served on the non-paying tenant, along with the unsigned declaration.

In many cases, we can create and serve a 15 day notice on your tenant, along with the unsigned declaration. Schedule a paid consultation to discuss.

Evictions Unrelated to Non-Payment of Rent Under the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020

Generally, nuisance-type cases and other rental violations unrelated to non-payment of rent can move forward, and landlords don’t have to wait until October 5, 2020 to file the unlawful detainer case.

Important to note is that if the landlord/owner has entered into a contract for the sale of the property and the buyer intends to occupy the property, and if it is a single family residence with a few other requirements, these eviction cases can proceed.

However, there are other limitations on evictions. For example, the landlord shall be precluded from recovering COVID-19 rental debt, as defined, in connection with any award of damages.

Additionally, all landlords must have a “just-cause” reason to evict the tenant as outlined in AB1482. Properties that are normally exempt from the just-cause requirements under AB1482 are not exempt under the COVID-19 Tenant Protection Act of 2020, meaning, landlords need to specify an appropriate just-cause reason for the eviction and it needs to be stated on the termination notice. With respect to relocation fees under AB1482, thankfully, the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 says landlords are not required to provide relocation fees to the tenant if the landlord would not otherwise be required to provide relocation fees under AB1482. Our understanding of this is that while many single family homes are generally exempt from a just-cause requirement under AB1482, even single family home evictions will need to include a just-cause reason for the eviction. However, since single family homes are generally exempt from relocation fees under AB1482, the landlord who rents the single family home to tenants would not need to compensate the tenant in the form of relocation money. On the other hand, if relocation fees would normally be required under AB1482, those fees are still payable to the tenant, but the landlord is allowed to offset it with any unpaid rent that the tenant owes.

Good to Know about the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB 3088)

  1. There are added penalties for landlords who try to wrongfully evict tenants during the effective dates of the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020.
  2. The small claims dollar amounts are lifted for recovering unpaid rent.
  3. The 15 day notice to pay rent or quit does not include weekends or judicial holidays.
  4. If the tenant provides the declaration to the landlord (and pays 25% of the September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021 rent on or before January 31, 2021), the landlord can not evict the tenant for non-payment of rent. The unpaid rent debt becomes consumer debt, not subject to eviction, and the landlord could pursue the unpaid rent through small claims court, but not through an eviction case.
  5. The one year limitation on demanding back-due rent is tolled.
  6. If a local jurisdiction has an existing eviction moratorium in effect, those laws will be allowed to continue until they expire, and landlords will need to abide by them, but they cannot be extended until February 2021.
  7. If a local moratorium allowed for the tenant to pay the missed rent over several months, and if the provision in effect on August 19, 2020, required the repayment period to commence on a specific date on or before March 1, 2021, any extension of that date made after August 19, 2020, shall have no effect. If the provision in effect on August 19, 2020, required the repayment period to commence on a specific date after March 1, 2021, or conditioned commencement of the repayment period on the termination of a proclamation of state of emergency or local emergency, the repayment period is deemed to begin on March 1, 2021. The specified period of time during which a tenant is permitted to repay COVID-19 rental debt may not extend beyond the period that was in effect on August 19, 2020. In addition, a provision may not permit a tenant a period of time that extends beyond March 31, 2022, to repay COVID-19 rental debt.
  8. Most of the new laws under the COVID-19 Tenant Protection Act of 2020 are in effect until February 2021.
  9. As a side note, the Judicial Council emergency rule 1 expire as of September 1, 2020.

Additional Resources

  1. Schedule a paid 15 or 30 minute telephone consultation to discuss your particular case.
  2. Order the required notice that needs to be provided to tenants by September 30, 2020, if the tenant owes any past-due rent beginning on March 1, 2020 ($50 fee).
  3. Watch our AB3088 overview video.
  4. Read the full Text of AB3088, including the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020.
  5. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to receive up-to-date eviction information and landlord best practices.
  6. LA Times article.
  7. CAL Matters article.

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