Q: I heard on the news that there is an eviction moratorium in the state of California. What that does that mean?
A: On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California enacted Emergency Rules to stop all prejudgment unlawful detainer (eviction) cases and prohibits filing new cases unless the court finds that the unlawful detainer case is necessary to protect public health and safety.
Q: My tenant is creating a nuisance at my rental property. Are there any exceptions to the eviction moratorium?
A: Yes, the Emergency Rules enacted by the Judicial Council allow an unlawful detainer (eviction) to proceed if the court determines the action is necessary to protect public health and safety. If your tenant is creating a nuisance at the property that is affecting public health and safety, then you may proceed with an eviction based on nuisance when the Courts reopen.
Q: I know that the Judicial Council of California enacted Emergency Rules that created a moratorium on all evictions unless the eviction is necessary to protect public health and safety. How long does this moratorium last and when can I file an eviction for non-payment of rent?
A: The eviction moratorium stays in place for 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted by the Governor of California. When the moratorium is lifted, then you may file an eviction based on non-payment of rent. However, your tenants may have certain protections if the reason for non-payment is related to COVID-19. You should consult with an attorney prior to serving any notices.
Q: My property manager told me that the court is closed. How does the court closure affect my ability to evict my tenant?
A: The San Diego Superior Court is closed from March 13, 2020 through May 22, 2020 and is not currently accepting any filings. The Court is set to re-open on May 26, 2020, however, this is subject to further extensions. Additionally, the court declared that all business days that fall within this period as court holidays. Court holidays, which include weekends, are not counted towards the notice period for a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit, 3-day notice to perform covenant or quit, or in the answering period for a defendant to respond to an unlawful detainer case. Thus, if you serve one of these notices during the Court’s closure, it will not expire until after the Court reopens. Further, all other notices to terminate tenancies (i.e. 30 or 60-Day Notice to Quit) cannot expire on a court holiday or the weekend, so a notice to quit cannot expire until the Court reopens. The laws are changing quickly and you should consult with an attorney before serving any notice on your tenants.
Q: I know the Governor of California declared a state of emergency and issued executive orders that protect tenants who cannot pay their rent due to COVID-19. How do the executive orders affect my ability to collect rent from my tenants?
A: Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20, which allows local governments (incorporated cities and counties) to enact legislation that halts residential and/or commercial evictions for non-payment of rent when there is a documented decrease in household income caused by COVID-19. For example, many cities in San Diego county have enacted local ordinances that allow a tenant to defer their rent payments if 1) the tenant timely provides notice to their landlord of their inability to pay rent due to COVID-19, and 2) timely provides the landlord with documentation that the tenant is unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. If the tenant provides the proper notice and documentation, then the local laws restrict the landlord’s ability to demand rent. Many of the laws enacted by the local governments are similar but have varying differences and effects. Thus, you should consult an attorney prior to serving your tenants with any notice to pay rent or quit.
Attorney Franco Simone, of Simone & Associates and The Landlords’ Legal Center, has been doing evictions for over 20 years. He is also an adjunct law professor at the University of San Diego. Mr. Simone’s office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Tel: 619-235-6180, website: www.landlordslegalcenter.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.