Guide to COVID-19 Residential and Commercial Eviction Moratorium in California and Los Angeles
Last updated – February 15, 2021
The Coronavirus pandemic was a catastrophic event for all aspects of real estate in Los Angeles, especially when it started in March 2020. Multiple government agencies and executives were forced to shut businesses down, and many residents cannot work, or are now unemployed. This lead to extensive and restrictive eviction moratorium to prevent an already bad public health crisis.
Both commercial and residential tenants were given some protections as early as March 15th 2020. As of February 2021 – those protections are still in place. But what does that mean? Are evictions not happening? Does this mean nobody has to pay rent? We try to explain in this helpful blog post. All of the information below was directly taken from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention website detailing all the latest information.
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Before we dive in - a Short Disclaimer...
Almost everyone got negatively effected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Property owners have empty stores from businesses who left and can’t pay rent. Same goes for apartment building companies facing migration out of California and lowered rents.
Tenants who can’t work, or are freshly unemployed, and barely got any assistance from the government are also hurting badly. It is important to handle all of this information with responsibility and compassion.
For all the ‘rent moratoriums’, landlords and tenants have to understand a few basic facts:
- You will still have to pay back the rent if you occupy an apartment, home, store, office, or lease any real estate.
- If you are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic – you still have to notify the landlord, and you may have to submit a statement in support of that.
- You can still get evicted for other lease violations – like being a nuisance, creating a health risk to other tenants, and committing a crime on the premise. There could be many lease violations that you could be evicted for. Most of the order below cover only non-payment of rent.
Before taking any legal action – always consult with an attorney. The information below is for educational purposes only!
Eviction Moratoriums enacted by the State of California
According to the CDC website, these are all the current eviction moratoriums that exist so far, as of February 2021:
Assembly Bill-3088/SB-91– protects Residential tenants in a Covid-19 hardship from eviction for unpaid rent from March 1, 2020 to June 30 2021. Tenants have to pay 25% of rent due after September 2020 to avoid eviction. Here are a few keys facts:
- These protections expire June 30th, 2021.
- Rent is still ultimately due. Landlords can start collecting due rent in August 2021 through small claims.
- Residential Tenants have now 15 days to pay or quit, changed from 3 days.
- Tenants have to show a hardship to qualify.
- Landlord have to provide disclaimers in the language the lease was negotiated.
- A notice informing them of their right has to be provided.
- Full text of the bill can be found here, and here.
Executive Order N-28-20 by the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom – it was the governor that enacted emergency powers through the impending public health crisis. A short order that was later extended, protects both residential and commercial tenants from eviction if the tenants were adversely effected by COVID-19.
- Protect both residential and Commercial eviction.
- Suspends most of the statutory protections awarded to property owners to recover possession by unlawful detainer action in court.
- Tenants suffering from a reduction in business income or household income are entitled to protection from eviction.
- Initially in place until May 31st, 2020. Recently extended to March 31st, 2021 – you can find a copy of the order here.
On a local level, we saw similar action to protect tenants from eviction. Los Angeles saw an increase migration outwards towards other parts of the state and to other states as well: Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Idaho. LA is now hammered by mass homelessness, crippling unemployment, and the extended shutdown impacted so many businesses – many shut down for good.
Here are the current order from the city council and the mayor:
Los Angeles City Council No. 186585 – the LA city council ordered to prohibits landlord from evicting tenants during the local emergency period. It provide a wide ban on tenant evictions.
- Expires May 30th, 2021 and protects residential and commercial tenants.
- The order only protect tenants who can’t pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 impact.
- Tenants shall have 12 months to pay back the rent owed to the landlord.
- This order does not ‘forgive’ any rent owed to the landlord. At the moment, if you can’t pay the rent, you will most likely have to pay it back at some point (but that might change).
- Tenants and landlords can and should agree on a repayment plan to pay back the rent owed.
- Landlord cannot evict tenants for a no-fault reason, expanding AB-1482 ‘rent control’ enacted for the state to all rental units.
- Does not ally landlord to intimidate, harass, or attempt fraud in order to evict a tenant.
- For commercial tenants – must provide a notice to landlord if they are unable to pay rent due to financial impact related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Garcetti issued multiple executive orders in defense of tenants in March 2020. It placed stops on evictions for residents and commercial tenants. Those order were later covered by the city council decisions.
The Board of Supervisors, and the chair of the Board, have issued order also protecting tenants. Initially enacted in March 2020, and extended multiple times (most recently in November 2020) – here are the details of the order:
- Expires on February 28, 2021.
- Protects both commercial and residential tenants.
- Landlords cannot evict tenants for non-payment of rent, late fees, or any other charges owed according to the lease.
- Tenants have to notify landlord within 7 days of not being able to rent and it is due, and tenants must demonstrate an inability to pay or an impact by COID-19.
- Tenants have 12 months to pay the rent owed back.
- The county’s order can be found here.
Whether you are a tenant struggling to pay rent, or a landlord with lower rents and a mounting mortgage payment – these are tough times. We encourage you to educate yourself on the city, state, and county rent moratoriums. But if you are facing a serious financial hardship, a difficult landlord, or tenants that won’t pay or refuse to comply with the lease – consult with a lawyer.
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