Coronavirus Eviction Ban: What Tenants Need to Know
Did you skip the April rent payment and now the landlord has sent a “pay or quit” notice?
While a new state rule has put eviction proceedings temporarily on halt, beware the summer. The procedural delays set in place April 6 by the state’s Judicial Council give tenants until 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted to refrain from acting on legal demands for rent payments.
When that period ends, eviction proceedings are back on the docket.
“I urge families who are facing an inability to pay their rent due to COVID-19 to take control of their rights under the Judicial Council’s emergency eviction rule and the governor’s executive order,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement. “Although neither of these measures forgives payment of rent, they will prevent most evictions from going forward during the ongoing public health emergency.”
Here are key details to note if you’re a tenant:
Pay it, if you can: The eviction delay doesn’t forgive rent payments. So, a tenant still owes the landlord the terms laid out in their lease. If you can afford to pay the rent, you should.
Court delay: Even if you can’t pay rent, the landlord can still file an eviction case. The case will not proceed until at least 90 days after the end of the state of emergency.
Check with your city: Local city or country measures may offer additional protections since they remain in effect following the governor’s executive order. Be sure to research local eviction moratoriums that may apply in your area.
No summons, for now: The Judicial Council’s rule prevents courts from issuing a summons, a document landlords serve on tenants in order to start the clock on the tenant’s time to respond.
No judgments, trials: Courts also will not enter judgment against tenants for failure to appear. Additionally, eviction trials in existing cases will be delayed for at least 60 days.
No lockout: Under the governor’s executive order until May 31, 2020, qualifying tenants who have documentation to prove their inability to pay rent and notify their landlords that they cannot do so are protected against lockout by the sheriff.
Get legal help: If a landlord issues a notice to pay or quit pending an eviction, tenants should seek legal help. Local legal aid organizations can be found at calbar.ca.gov/Public/Need-Legal-Help/Free-Legal-Help.
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