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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