On April 6th, the California Judicial Council, governing board for all state courts, extended statewide moratoriums on ALL* evictions until 90 days after the Governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TENANTS?
I’ve been told I have 3 days to pay my rent (or stop doing something else that is against my lease), or else I have to vacate. What should I do?
- Issuance of a 3 Day Notice to “Pay or Quit” or “Cure or Quit” may still happen if you are in violation of your rental agreement, but this does not count as a formal eviction. It’s a notice that you are in breach of your rental agreement, and the landlord is asking you to fix the problem, i.e., pay the rent or stop breaking the lease with something you are doing. It is the first step towards an eviction, but it is not in itself an eviction. You are still entitled to due process before an eviction occurs.
- A filing with the court requesting permission to evict a tenant (called an unlawful detainer, “UD”) is very different from a notice to resolve the problem or else vacate. So, there’s a lot of confusion that when somebody receives a notice giving an ultimatum to fix the problem or else vacate, they think that that is an eviction filing or an actual official action for eviction.
- The best option right now for most people who receive such a notice will be stay put. Try and work it out with your landlord and fix the problem if you can, but realize: you do not have to leave until the judge signs a court order requiring you to leave. And that will not happen for several months at this rate. It is best to avoid this from happening, if possible, so your credit, and that of your guarantor or co-signer, is not potentially negatively impacted by such a filing.
- *The California Judicial Council created one exception to the prohibition of eviction filings: cases involving threats to public health and safety.
- Even then there is still due process. The tenant still has to get their day in court. The landlord has to prove that an eviction action is necessary to protect public health and safety, and so it’s not enough just to allege it.
- Tenants who are able to pay their rent should do so, because when the moratorium ends the tenant could still be subject to eviction for failure to pay. You still owe your rent, and the eviction moratorium is not rent forgiveness!! It’s also not a pass to live however you want in your rental regardless of consequences.
- Call 911 or the local non-emergency dispatch number if a landlord tries to forcibly evict you, such as enters without consent or reasonable notice, changes the locks, turns off utilities or removes your property.
I’ve been served a notice to vacate (3 day Quit, 30/60 Notice to Terminate Tenancy). What should I do?
- Normally at the end of the period given for you to vacate the landlord can initiate the filing of an eviction (unlawful detainer) action without further warning. However, the statewide moratorium prevents the courts from processing the filings for ANY eviction, no matter why the landlord wants to remove a tenant, unless there is an issue of public health and safety. Assuming the notice is valid, and any local laws in effect are complied with, the landlord will have to wait until the courts can begin processing the filings again to be able to take steps to evict you from the premises. Once the courts are allowed to process the eviction filings, then the eviction can proceed unless you vacated before then.
- In order to avoid having an eviction on your credit history, if you can move before the courts are allowed to process evictions again, then this is in your best interests. But if you can’t find a new place by the date that you were told by the landlord to vacate by then you have more time right now to find a new home. You will eventually have to move though.