The Tenant Relief Act was to end rent protections for tenants commencing with rent owed on Did You Know

February 1, 2021. Under the original statute, a standard 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit could be served and an eviction could thereafter be filed. Unfortunately, on January 29, 2021 the Governor and the State Legislators extended the Tenant Relief Act under Senate Bill 91.  This extension further tramples on the rights of income property owners, where tenants can legally withhold rent from March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.  On this basis, landlords have no remedy to collect rent, or institute an eviction, for a total of SIXTEEN months. Below are some of the applicable provisions of the statute.

Protected Time Period

This time period remains the same and consists of rent owed from March 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020. If the tenant has signed the Declaration of Financial Hardship, this rental obligation is now considered a “civil debt”. It cannot be the subject of an unlawful detainer and a landlord can only bring forth a civil or a small claims court action to collect on this debt. These civil actions cannot be brought until August 1, 2021. The original statute allowed for the filing of a civil lawsuit on March 1, 2021.

Transition Time Period

The transition time period is now extended from September 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. If the tenant has signed the Declaration of Financial Hardship, 25% of the rent will now be owed as of June 30, 2021. If this portion of the rent is not paid, an unlawful detainer action can be filed, based on the service of a 15-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. The remaining portion of the rent owed, 75%, will now be considered a civil debt. The landlord can only bring forth a civil or small claims lawsuit for this balance. An eviction cannot be filed. A civil or small claims lawsuit can be brought as of August 1, 2021.

Compensation to Landlords for Lost Rent

This bill did establish a ray of hope for landlords. Landlords, pursuant to this statute, will be compensated for 80 % of the lost rent for the period of April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. The landlord must agree to waive the remaining 20% of the rent owed. At the time of the writing of the column, the procedures for applying for this compensation have not been finalized. Please check back next month or check for developments on the AOA website at www.aoausa.com.

 

Dennis Block, of Dennis P. Block & Associates can be reached for information on landlord/tenant law or evictions at any of the following offices:  Los Angeles: 323.938.2868, Encino: 818.986.3147, Inglewood: 310.673.2996, Long Beach:  310.434.5000, Ventura: 805.653.7264, Pasadena: 626.798.1014, Orange: 714.634.8232, San Diego: 619.481.5423 or by visiting www.evict123.com. Now, you can also read Dennis Block on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dennisblock or text him at (818) 570-1557.  “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at www.EVICT123.com or download the app “EVICT123”.