COVID-19 Coronavirus Information for Landlords and Property Managers
Due to Covid-19, our office is closed to the public, but we are still available for telephone consultation on an appointment basis. The basic charge or a 30-45 minute consultation is $85.00.
Covid-19 Updates as of August 4, 2020:
No. 1. Eviction Moratorium: The Cares Act has expired, but the California State of Emergency with eviction Moratorium has been extended to September 30, 2020, and may be extended again. The Judicial Council has a continuing order that No Eviction Summons or Writ of Possession may be issued unless there is a proven threat to public health and safety. Currently that order will go 90 days beyond any State of Emergency (In other words, Happy New Year, 2021). This means simply that violations of the lease, including non-payment of rent are not enforceable for the foreseeable future. As a result of this order, we cannot file any eviction unless it is based on proven Criminal or Public Nuisance Activity (Drug Dealing, Murder, Assault, Arson, Vandalism, similar disruptive conduct). This conduct must be proven by evidence from eye witnesses who are prepared to identify themselves and appear in court to testify to that conduct. Anything less is unlikely to succeed.
No. 2. Legislation: SB 1410, AB 828, and other laws are in the works to make rents and some notices to terminate tenancies essentially unenforceable if given during this State of Emergency. If these pass, then rents accrued during this period of time may be paid back over extended periods of time, or (in the case of SB 1410) may be confiscated by the State in exchange for a tax credit.
Q: Is my tenant required to pay rent during the Covid-19 State of Emergency?
A: Yes….But: There is no law requiring rent forgiveness (Yet), but there are a number of State and Local measures which provide rent deferments for tenants who are not paying rent at this time and for the duration of the State of Emergency. So if you demand rent, and the tenant claims an impact as a result of lay-off, illness or loss of income, the Landlord will need to negotiate a payment plan which may begin after the emergency is lifted, which is at this point undefined.
Q: Can I serve a notice to pay rent if a tenant is delinquent in rent?
A: Maybe: A number of Courts remain closed to Unlawful Detainers, and there is a Statewide Moratorium which forbids eviction whether the tenant is affected by the current State of Emergency or Not. Giving a notice that is likely unenforceable is not usually recommended.
Q: Can I serve a notice for other breaches of my lease?
A: Yes….But: The Judicial Council of California has ordered that no Summons for Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) will issue for 90 days after the State of Emergency is lifted, unless the tenant is proven to pose a serious threat to the safety of others (violent, destructive action with eye witness testimony, preferably with police reports). Other than that, subletting, refusing inspections, and other lesser violations will not be enforced for the duration of the virus plus 90-days which means at least 4 months and possibly longer.
Q: How is the California Legislature Responding?
A: By making matters worse, in most cases. It is estimated there will be $5 Billion or more in uncollected rent in the State of California by the time the State of Emergency is lifted. This may be a gross underestimate depending on how long the moratorium is allowed to continue. SB
1410, AB 828, Proposition 21 will all make property management and rent collection difficult if not impossible.
Q: Is there anything I can do?
A: Yes. Contact your legislators and the Judicial Council of California and tell them to stop destroying and start supporting the Housing industry. If good people stop investing in California Real Estate, we will all pay the price. Most of our clients do not like politics, but politicians make laws, and if you do not get involved, then others who do not have your interests at heart will gladly take your place.