Los Angeles County Rent Control Effective April 1, 2020

 

Los Angeles County decided to create a permanent rent control ordinance which became effective on April 1, 2020. This rent control ordinance is also known as the Los Angeles County Rent Stabilization Ordinance. LA County’s rent control ordinance is a new law that gives tenants additional rights at the expense of landlords. This article will explain many of the main points of the Los Angeles County rent control ordinance and will explain which properties are subject to the ordinance.

Where Does the LA County Rent Control Ordinance Apply?

LA County’s rent control / rent stabilization ordinance applies in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles county. If the property is located in an unincorporated part of LA county, then the ordinance applies to the rental property unless the property is exempt. Examples of unincorporated areas of LA County include Castaic and Stevenson Ranch.

What Properties in Unincorporated LA County are Exempt from Rent Control?

A non-exhaustive list of properties that are exempt from the LA County Rent Stabilization Ordinance include:

  1. Any Dwelling Unit that is alienable separate (i.e., separately transferable) from the title to any other Dwelling Unit, including without limitation single family residences and condominiums, but excluding mobilehomes offered for rent by a Tenant; or is a subdivided interest in a subdivision, as specified in California Business and Professions Code section 11004.5 subdivisions (b), (d), or (f).
  2. Accessory Dwelling Units. An accessory dwelling unit for which a certificate of occupancy or equivalent permit for residential occupancy was issued after February 1, 1995 is exempt, unless it was occupied on or before February 1, 1995, and a Tenant provides evidence indicating as such, regardless of the legal or permit status of the Dwelling Unit.
  3. Most Section 8.

For the full list, see LA County Code 8.52.050.

Rent Increases Under the LA County Rent Stabilization Ordinance

Upon proper notice pursuant to Civil Code 789, and assuming the unit is registered with LA County and is current on any registration fees, the rent can generally be increased only once in any 12 month period. Rent banking is not allowed. The maximum rent increase is 8%, but is further restricted to reflect the average change in CPI.

For more details, see LA County Code 8.52.050.

Annual Rental Registration of Unincorporated LA County Rental Properties

On or before September 30th of each year, a Landlord must register each Dwelling Unit that is rented or is available for Rent. A Landlord must contact the Department or update the County’s registry system if there are any subsequent changes to the Dwelling Unit. The landlord may be required to pay a fee to register. See LA County Code 8.52.080.

Evictions in Unincorporated LA County

If the rental property is located in unincorporated LA County and an exemption does not apply, the landlord will only be able to evict a tenant for a “just cause” reason. Just cause includes “at-fault” and “no-fault” reasons. If the reason for eviction cannot be categorized into either an at-fault or no-fault reason, then the landlord will be unable to regain possession, unless the tenant moves voluntarily. If the landlord is evicting for a no-fault reason, the tenant is entitled to receive relocation fees. Strict eviction guidelines must be followed. Contact the Law Office of David Piotrowski for possible assistance with evicting a tenant in unincorporated Los Angeles county.

More information can be found in LA County Code 8.52.090.

Tenant Buyout Agreements in LA County

Tenant buyout agreements are permissible to remove a tenant subject to the LA County rent control ordinance. Strict guidelines must be followed and the tenant will have the right to rescind the agreement for 45 days after execution.

See LA County Code 8.52.100.

More Information

  1. Read the LA County Rent Control Ordinance.
  2. Schedule a paid consultation to discuss your options with respect to evicting a tenant in LA County. We represent landlords only.
  3. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to receive up-to-date eviction information and landlord best practices.

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Los Angeles City Council Failed to Pass Broader Eviction Restrictions

 

Los Angeles landlords received a small “win” during the LA City Council meeting on April 22, 2020, when the Council failed to vote in favor of additional eviction restrictions during the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the Los Angeles City Council meeting on April 22, 2020, there were several items up for debate that would have placed even more restrictions on evictions. These restrictions would have further eroded the ability of a landlord to enforce his or her rights with respect to evictions within the City of Los Angeles.

The ordinances would have:

  1. Allowed for the freezing of rent increases in non-RSO buildings during the emergency period and for 90 days after the emergency
  2. Prevented landlords from evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent for any unpaid rent during the emergency period, even after the 12 month repayment period expired
  3. Allowed landlords and tenants to create a temporary rent reduction agreement, in which monthly or annual rent owed is reduced
  4. Prohibited a landlord from terminating a tenancy or from serving a notice to terminate a tenancy or to evict a tenant except for public health or safety

The council agreed, however, to prepare an ordinance freezing rent increases for RSO properties that would be retroactive to March 4, 2020, and would be effective until nearly a year after the end of the emergency. On March 30, 2020, LA Mayor Garcetti had already halted rent increases on occupied rental units subject to the LA Rent Stabilization Ordinance. That order can be read here. On April 22, 2020, the Council decided to take it a step further by agreeing to draft an ordinance that would halt rent increases for RSO buildings, which would be retroactive to March 4, 2020, and the freeze would be in effect for nearly a year after the emergency period concludes.

All-in-all, a good outcome for landlords in an already terrible environment, except for the rent freeze covering RSO buildings.

The LA City Council agenda for the April 22, 2020 meeting can be viewed here, and the items relating to evictions and tenant protections are items 37, 38, and 39. An article from the LA Times discussing the April 22, 2020 LA City Council vote on eviction restrictions can be read here.

Additional Coronavirus Los Angeles Eviction Moratorium Resources

The Los Angeles eviction restrictions are changing rapidly during the time of the Coronavirus pandemic. Landlords should stay up-to-date with the laws governing landlord/tenant law and evictions in Los Angeles during these unprecedented times. The following Los Angeles eviction moratorium resources can be used by LA landlords:

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COVID-19 Landlord and Tenant Forms for California

 

The state of California and many local jurisdictions within the state have imposed strict eviction moratoriums on landlords. As of April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California placed an almost 100% delay on all evictions statewide. Tenants are still responsible for paying rent, but many jurisdictions are deferring rent payments, allowing tenants to pay the past-due rent to the landlord within several months after the coronavirus pandemic ends. Each jurisdiction sets their own repayment rules. Essentially, government is placing the burden on landlords.

Now more than ever, landlords should be creating good written documents with their tenants. Some jurisdictions, such as the City of Los Angeles, require a landlord to provide written notice to a tenant of their rights to defer rent. Some jurisdictions ask a tenant to provide documentation to their landlord showing that the reason for the non-payment is related to COVID-19. (Unfortunately for landlords, the City of Los Angeles does not require a tenant to provide such proof to a landlord, which is leading to many false claims, but the landlord has no ability to dispute the claim at this time.)

To assist landlords, the Law Office of David Piotrowski has created several interactive COVID-19 landlord and tenant forms. The forms are reasonably priced with the goal of having as many landlords as possible use these forms to protect what little rights landlords have. Many of the forms make clear that the landlord is not waiving any rent, and that the tenant will ultimately be responsible for paying the rent.

Create and Download COVID-19 Landlord and Tenant Forms for California

The following are coronavirus landlord and tenant forms. The forms are fully automatic. As a landlord, you simply enter the relevant details into the form builder, make your payment, and then you’ll be able to immediately download and use the form. These are one-time use forms to use for a specific tenant at a specific rental property. If you want a PDF form template that you can use on multiple tenants, see below.

  • Notice of Tenant Rights re COVID-19 – This form is $50. It provides written notice to a tenant, informing the tenant of their rights related to deferment of rent. Some jurisdictions, such as the City of Los Angeles, require a landlord to provide written notice to the tenant. Los Angeles Municipal Code section 49.99.2(E) states, “An Owner shall given written notice of the protections afforded by this article within 30 days of its effective date.” Failure to provide notice may result in penalties.”
  • Partial (or Zero) Rent Payment Receipt – This form is $50. If a tenant makes a partial rent payment (or no payment) because they informed the landlord in writing (most jurisdictions require that a tenant notify a landlord within 7 days of the rent becoming due that the reason for the partial or non-payment was due to COVID-19), the landlord should send the tenant written notification that a partial (or zero) payment was received, spell out the time period for which the tenant has to repay all rent, and make it clear that the landlord is not agreeing to waive the rent. The rent will still be due, just at a later date.
  • Notice to Tenant Requesting Documentation – This form is $50. Many jurisdictions (except the City of Los Angeles) ask a tenant to provide written substantiation that the reason for their non-payment has to do with COVID-19. This form requests that the tenant provide such documentation to the landlord. Specifically in Los Angeles, though, tenants are not required to provide this documentation to the landlord at the time the rent is due.

Unsure about what form or forms you should use, or what the current laws are in your jurisdiction? Schedule a paid, 15 minute call with us.

Coronavirus Multiple-Use PDF Form Templates for Landlords

Instead of a complete, fully-automated and ready-to-use form, do you prefer a PDF template that you can download, fill out manually, and use on multiple tenants? Each multi-use form template is $125. Make your payment here, and in the payment description, be sure to let us know which form you would like. If you are ordering two forms, the cost is $250. Three forms is $375. Once you make the payment, we will email you a PDF of your form template within one business day. You are free to reuse the form on multiple tenants.

Covid-19 California Landlord Resources

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Can You Evict a Tenant in California During COVID-19?

 

During these unprecedented times, and more so than ever before in modern history, the ability of a landlord to evict a tenant in the State of California is under siege. Even prior to COVID-19, California passed statewide rent control and imposed limits on rent increases under AB1482, which took effect on January 1, 2020, with limited exceptions. Now, with COVID-19, the State of California and many local jurisdictions have taken eviction restrictions to entirely new levels. The government is taking swift action to protect renters, while doing little to nothing to help landlords. This article is an update to a previous article that was published on March 19, 2020, called “Covid-19 and Evictions in California,” and offers an update into California evictions during COVID-19, with a particular emphasis on Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, and Santa Clarita. Note that the laws continue to change rapidly, so landlords should consult legal counsel prior to taking any action, as these laws are subject to continual change. No legal advice is hereby given.

California Eviction Moratorium

Misconceptions abound with respect to the current status of evictions statewide and in many local jurisdictions. On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California in effect banned almost all evictions from moving forward (more on that below).

On March 27, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-37-20 [PDF], which placed certain restrictions on evictions, but did not place a blanket eviction moratorium on all evictions.

Highlights of the Order include:

  • An extension of time for defendants (tenants) to respond to an unlawful detainer complaint. Under the Order, tenants shall have 60 days after being served with an eviction complaint that is based on non-payment of rent, to respond to the complaint, so long as the tenant satisfies the following:
  • 1. The tenant previously paid rent to the landlord.
  • 2. The tenant notifies the landlord in writing before the rent is due, or within 7 days after the rent is due, 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.
  • 3. The tenant must retain verifiable documentation to support their claim that they are unable to pay due to COVID-19. The documentation should be provided to the landlord no later than the time when the past-due rent is due.
  • The tenant is ultimately responsible for paying rent.
  • The sheriff is not permitted to execute on a Writ of Possession while the Order is in effect, so long as the eviction was due to non-payment of rent and the tenant satisfies the notice requirements discussed above. Nothing in the Order prohibits the sheriff from executing on a Writ of Possession when the eviction did not pertain to non-payment of rent, or when the tenant failed to notify the landlord that the tenant didn’t pay due to an issue related to COVID-19.
  • Nothing in the Order prohibits a landlord from initiating an unlawful detainer action against a tenant.
  • If an eviction is based on any other reason, including no-fault evictions, the eviction can move forward now.
  • The Order is in effect until May 31, 2020.

Update 4/7/2020: On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California adopted a temporary emergency rule [PDF] that halts most evictions in California during the emergency period, and for a period of 90 days after the emergency period ends. Under the new rule, a court may not issue a summons on a complaint (initiate an eviction case), nor can the court enter a default or default judgment against a tenant in most cases, and the court will extend trial dates in eviction cases. There are exceptions to these rules only for public health and safety reasons. Essentially, this new rule by the Judicial Council of California means almost all evictions are banned in California during the COVID-19 emergency. More on this new temporary rule banning evictions in California can be found here.

Update 6/1/2020: On May 29, 2020, the CA Governor signed an executive order (N-66-20) that extends the protections found in N-28-20 paragraphs 1 and 2 relating to evictions for an additional 60 days (through July 28, 2020). Read the executive order here [PDF]. N-28-20 can be read here [PDF]. Essentially, N-28-20 gave local governments the authority to impose substantive limitations on residential and commercial evictions when the reason for the eviction is non-payment of rent that is related to COVID-19.

Update 7/1/2020: On June 30, 2020, the CA Governor signed yet another extension, giving local governments continued authority to enact substantial limitations on evictions. The new extension now lasts through September 30, 2020. More information here.

City of Los Angeles Eviction Moratorium

In an Order [PDF] dated March 15, 2020, Garcetti ordered that “no landlord shall evict a residential tenant in the City of Los Angeles during this local emergency period if the tenant is able to show an inability to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Order gave impacted tenants up to six months following the expiration of the order to repay the past-due rent.

Then, in an Order [PDF] dated March 17, 2020, Mr. Garcetti broadened his eviction moratorium to include commercial tenancies “if the tenant is able to show an inability to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The rent must ultimately be paid to the landlord, and the tenant would have up to three months following the expiration of the order to repay the past-due rent.

On March 23, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an Order [PDF] that is in effect immediately until April 19, 2020. The Order states that tenants living within the City of LA may not be evicted during the emergency period if the eviction is a “no-fault eviction” and any member of the household is ill, in isolation, or under quarantine. The Order is retroactive to March 4, 2020. The Order makes clear that the tenant is still responsible for ultimately paying rent. The Order also prohibits Ellis Act evictions while the order is in effect and until 60 days after expiration of the Order.

On March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council is seeking to go further than the Mayor, with an ordinance [PDF] that would be retroactive to March 4, 2020. The ordinance would prohibit landlords from evicting residential tenants for non-payment if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. While tenants are still responsible for ultimately paying the past-due rent, they would have up to twelve months (1 year!) following the expiration of the emergency period to repay past-due rent. The city ordinance would also outlaw no-fault evictions during the emergency period. Further, landlords would be unable to evict a tenant during the emergency period for the at-fault reason of allowing unauthorized occupants, pets, or nuisances related to COVID-19. Owners would be unable to charge interest or a late fee, and landlords would be required to give written notice of these protections to the tenant within 30 days of its effective date. The ordinance would also prohibit commercial evictions, if the reason for the eviction is non-payment of rent and the reason for the non-payment is related to COVID-19. Commercial tenants would need to repay the past-due rent within three months following the expiration of the emergency period. Commercial landlords would also be prohibited from charging interest or a late fee.

On March 30, 2020, Garcetti issued an Order [PDF] that halts rent increases on occupied rental units that are subject to the LA Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). This means, landlords who own properties subject to the RSO are not permitted to raise rents through sixty days after expiration of the emergency period.

Update 3/31/2020: The Mayor signed the new ordinance [PDF] that the City Council discussed on March 27, 2020.

Update 4/22/2020: During their meeting on April 22, 2020, the LA City Council failed to approve additional eviction restrictions and tenant protections, except for agreeing to draft an ordinance freezing rent increases on RSO properties for almost a year. Read more here.

Update 4/30/2020: During their meeting on April 29, 2020, the LA City Council voted to require landlords to use only the tenant notification form provided by HCIDLA. This form provides tenants with a notice of their rights during COVID-19. Additionally, the Council voted to instruct the HCIDLA to mail all residential rental property owners and tenants in HCIDLA’s database of their housing rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 local emergency period.

Update 5/7/2020: The assault on landlords continues without remission! During their meeting on May 6, 2020, the LA City Council decided to give tenants a private right of action allowing tenants to sue landlords who violate LA’s residential tenant protection ordinance, prohibit landlords from trying to take tenants’ stimulus money, and require landlords to use only the tenant notice form provided by HCIDLA. The Council voted to establish their position to suspend Costa Hawkins. LA also voted to temporarily prohibit rent increases for units subject to the RSO. Read more here.

Update 5/13/2020: The LA City Ordinance 186606 has been posted. Even if landlords have previously given their tenants a notice of tenant rights, the new ordinance requires that landlords give the revised notice to their tenants, which can be downloaded here. This notice will need to be given to all tenants even after the local emergency period expires, for 12 months post-emergency, whenever an owner serves a notice to pay rent or quit, a notice to terminate a residential tenancy, a notice to perform covenant or quit, or any eviction notice. See section 49.99.2(E) of the ordinance. In addition, section 49.99.7 provides the language that gives tenants a private right of action to sue a landlord if a landlord violates the temporary emergency tenant protections. Before a tenant can commence an action against a landlord, the tenant must provide written notice to the owner of the alleged violation and give the owner 15 days to cure the alleged violation.

County of Los Angeles Eviction Moratorium

The county of Los Angeles imposed restrictions on landlords. The county eviction moratorium applies in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles county. If the rental property is located in an unincorporated part of the county, then the county has jurisdiction.

The LA County eviction moratorium is retroactive to March 4, 2020, and remains in effect through May 31, 2020. The text of the moratorium [PDF] orders a “temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent by residential or commercial tenants impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.” A landlord may not evict a residential or commercial tenant under the order for non-payment of rent or for late charges if the tenant “demonstrates an inability to pay rent and/or related charges” due to COVID-19. The tenant needs to notify the landlord within 7 days after the rent due date, informing the landlord that the tenant is unable to pay. Tenants will have up to six months following the expiration of the order to pay the past-due rent to the landlord. The order encourages both landlords and tenants to work together to establish a payment plan.

In addition to non-payment issues caused by COVID-19, the LA county eviction moratorium prohibits “no-fault” evictions unless the reason for the eviction is due to health and safety reasons.

The California Apartment Association prepared a brochure on the LA County Eviction Moratorium.

Update 4/7/2020: On March 31, 2020, LA County placed a temporary rent freeze on rent stabilized units in the unincorporated parts of LA County. The temporary rent freeze means that owners of multi-family housing properties built before February 1995 in unincorporated Los Angeles County may not increase the rental cost for their tenants until May 31, 2020, unless extended.

Update 4/17/2020: On April 14, 2020, the LA County Board of Supervisors went even further, enhancing the already broad tenant protections during the COVID-19 emergency period. In their ordinance [PDF], the Board of Supervisors decided to 1) include an eviction moratorium for non-payment of space rent for mobilehome owners, 2) expand the eviction restrictions within LA county to include the entire county except for areas that already have their own eviction moratorium, 3) prohibit rent increases for residential units and mobilehome owners, 4) prohibit landlords from charging interest and late fees during the moratorium, 5) extend the repayment period post-moratorium to 12 months instead of the previous 6 months, 6) increase the eviction ban so that a landlord cannot evict due to unauthorized occupants, pets or nuisance related to COVID-19, 7) allow a tenant to self-certify that the reason they cannot pay is due to COVID-19 (instead of requiring the tenant to obtain documentation); 8) prohibit landlords from harassing or intimidating tenants. For more information on these restrictions, this this LA county page.

Update 5/12/2020: The LA County Board of Supervisors decided to extend the eviction moratorium until at least June 30, 2020. The Supervisors will reevaluate every 30 days to decide whether to extend the moratorium further. The Supervisors are investigating whether unpaid rent due to COVID-19 can be classified as consumer debt. For more information, view the Statement of Proceedings [PDF].

Update 6/23/2020: LA county has yet again extended the eviction moratorium. This time, they extended it through July 31, 2020. For more information, see this statement.

Santa Clarita Eviction Moratorium

Nothing yet, but the city of Santa Clarita is considering an eviction moratorium.

Update 3/31/2020: Santa Clarita passed an eviction moratorium that includes non-payment of rent cases where the tenant notifies the landlord within seven days after the rent is due that the reason for the non-payment is due to COVID-19. The moratorium is in effect until May 31, 2020, unless extended. The tenant has up to 6 months after the emergency period to pay the past-due rent to the landlord. The landlord may not impose late fees. Some no-fault evictions are also included. The ordinance applies to both residential and commercial tenants.

Update 5/26/2020: The City Council voted on 5/26/2020 to extend the eviction moratorium through June 30, 2020, and to provide tenants with an extended repayment period of 9 months.

Other California Locations

Many other cities and counties have already enacted renter protections, or are contemplating enacting renter protections. Before any landlord decides to begin eviction proceedings in any of the locations discussed herein or in any other location throughout California, be sure to consult with legal counsel to receive up-to-date information related to your possible case.

Courts Delay Unlawful Detainer Proceedings

Several courts throughout California are delaying eviction proceedings in light of COVID-19. The Los Angeles Superior Court and the Ventura Superior Court is highlighted below.

  • Los Angeles Superior Court – In a March 17, 2020 General Order [PDF] signed by Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile, the court declared March 17, 2020 to April 16, 2020 as a holiday for purposes of computing time under CCP 1167 (five-day period within which defendant must respond to a complaint in unlawful detainer action). Two days later, another General Order dated March 19, 2020 [PDF] was issued. The March 19 order declared that all unlawful detainer (eviction) cases would be continued. Then, another General Order dated March 23, 2020 [PDF] was signed. The March 23 order suspended all unlawful detainer trials until further notice. Update 5/14/2020: Court remains closed for the most part until June 10, 2020. All trials, including unlawful detainer (eviction) trials, will be scheduled for a date after June 22, 2020. The clerk’s office will reopen on June 15. See new court release here. Update 6/13/2020: The court deems June 11, 2020 to July 9, 2020 as holidays for purposes of computing time under CCP 1167. All eviction trials through July 9, 2020 will be rescheduled. See the order here.
  • Ventura Superior Court – The court will maintain only limited operations through April 17, 2020 [PDF]. The clerks office will remain closed to the public during this time period. In an Amended Administrative Order No. 20.05 dated March 20, 2020 [PDF], all unlawful detainer matters currently on calendar are suspended for 60 days and will be continued by the court. Update 5/12/2020: The court will remain mostly closed through June 9, 2020.

So, Can a Landlord Evict a Tenant During COVID-19?

Probably not (see below update dated 4/7/2020).

Landlords must consult local jurisdictions to see if a more restrictive eviction moratorium is in effect. If there is no local moratorium in effect, then all California landlords will be limited by California’s eviction restrictions, which are currently set to expire on May 31, 2020. Landlords wanting to evict for non-payment of rent should be particularly careful and should place a note on their 3 day notice, informing the tenant to contact the landlord in writing within 7 days if the reason for the non-payment is due to COVID-19. Tenants should obtain and keep good records to prove that the reason for non-payment was due to COVID-19, and should be prepared to provide such proof to the landlord and the court.

Regardless of whether or not a local jurisdiction has enacted a more restrictive moratorium than what the State of California has imposed, landlords will encounter substantial eviction delays and court backlogs during the era of COVID-19.

Update 4/7/2020: On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California banned most evictions from moving forward during the COVID-19 emergency period except for cases dealing with public health or safety.

To be continued…

Every effort has been made to provide accurate information as of March 30, 2020. The eviction laws are changing extremely rapidly. Landlords should not rely solely on the information contained herein and should consult legal counsel before making any decisions on how (and if) to proceed with an eviction. An effort will be made to provide updates to eviction laws on both this California eviction blog and on Twitter, so please bookmark this blog and follow us on Twitter. Landlords seeking a consultation can find more information on the Law Office of David Piotrowski’s contact page. Stay safe everyone!

COVID-19 Landlord Forms

Update 4/8/2020: We have created several forms for landlords to use during COVID-19. View our library of Covid-19 Landlord and Tenant Forms for California.

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COVID-19 and Evictions in California

 

The eviction (unlawful detainer) laws are changing in California, almost on a daily basis. The Law Office of David Piotrowski is still open during these times, however, eviction cases will take longer and there are some restrictions on evictions throughout the state. While we do not offer free consultations related to evictions and how COVID-19 may effect your particular eviction, we are temporarily offering $75 consultations for up to 15 minutes of time on the phone, now through March 31, 2020.

This article will outline some of the temporary measures in effect. You may find the answer to your questions below without having to call us to schedule a consultation. It is important to note that this discussion relates to evictions in Los Angeles County and Ventura county only. While this discussion may apply to other jurisdictions as well, this article focuses on LA and Ventura counties only.

California Evictions

Governor Newsom of California has for the most part left it up to individual local governments to decide whether or not to order an eviction moratorium. If a local government were to enact such an eviction moratorium, the governor stated that the moratorium should only apply if:

i) The eviction is for nonpayment of rent, or a foreclosure, arising out of a substantial decrease in household or business income (including, but not limited to, a substantial decrease in household income caused by layoffs or a reduction in the number of compensable hours of work, or a substantial decrease in business income caused by a reduction in opening hours or consumer demand), or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and

ii) The decrease in household or business income or the out-of-pocket medical expenses described in subparagraph (i) was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented.

LA City Eviction Moratorium

The city of Los Angeles is enacting an eviction moratorium. The moratorium will likely be approved as early as next week. The City Council’s proposal would give tenant’s the option to repay their past-due rent over the course of many months. See https://la.curbed.com/2020/3/12/21177048/coronavirus-los-angeles-rent-relief-eviction-ban

Many details are still unknown at this time.

LA County Eviction Moratorium for Unincorporated Areas of LA County

An eviction moratorium will be in place through May 31, 2020 in unincorporated parts of LA county, and the eviction moratorium would be retroactive to March 4. The eviction moratorium is for renters who are unable to pay their rent because they lost work due to COVID-19. Tenants would have up to 6 months to repay missed rent.

Other Local Governments

Many other local governments are also enacting eviction moratoriums.

Government Public Housing Evictions

There is, or soon will be, a moratorium on public housing residents. The moratorium does not apply to housing voucher holders. See https://www.curbed.com/2020/3/18/21185666/coronavirus-foreclosure-eviction-moratorium-trump-hud

Expect Court Delays for Unlawful Detainer Actions

Many courts are severely restricting access and closing for extended periods of time, so you can expect delays to eviction cases for the immediate future.

What Does This Mean?

Eviction cases can still move forward and can still be filed for the most part, even if there is a moratorium, if the reason for the eviction doesn’t have to do with non-payment of rent. If the eviction has to do with non-payment of rent, check local laws to see if a moratorium is in effect. If there is a moratorium in effect, it most likely will be for non-payment of rent cases where the reason for the non-payment of rent has to do with COVID-19. The tenant will still ultimately be responsible for paying the past-due rent over the course of several months. If there is no moratorium in effect, the landlord can proceed with the eviction, even for non-payment of rent. Expect long court delays.

Note that the eviction laws have been changing almost daily recently, and what is stated above today could be out-of-date by tomorrow. Thus, the above information should be used a general information only and not as legal advice. If you would like to discuss your particular case, please reach out to the Law Office of David Piotrowski and we can schedule a 15 minute call for $75.

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