New Laws Apply to Eviction Cases

A new state law on evictions allows landlords to start filing residential eviction cases for failure to pay rent or other financial obligations on October 5, 2020. This law provides protections for renters who are given an eviction notice because they are unable to pay their rent or other charges between March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, due to COVID-19-related financial distress.

There are also federal protections in place and many cities and counties have local ordinances that were developed to extend special protections to renters during the COVID-19 emergency.

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, it is important to get help to understand your rights and responsibilities under these new laws and ordinances.

Are you a tenant looking for more information? Jump to Help and Resources for Tenants

Are you a landlord looking for more information? Jump to Help and Resources for Landlords

California's Tenant, Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (AB 3088)

On August 31, 2020, California adopted legislation (AB 3088) to protect tenants and small landlords from the financial distress caused by COVID-19 pandemic effects. It includes the COVID-19 Tenants Relief Act of 2020, which provides the tenant protections described in the linked material. Under AB 3088, landlords may begin filing certain eviction actions for failure to pay rent or other charges as of October 5, 2020, but cannot evict tenants for failure to pay rent who have delivered to their landlord a declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress within 15-days after being served with a notice to quit by the landlord.

COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (SB 91, 2020 Budget Act)

On January 29, 2021, the Governor signed a bill that extends the protections in AB 3088 through June 30, 2021 and includes some additional protections. Landlords may not evict tenants for failure to pay rent if those tenants have delivered to their landlord a declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress within 15 days of being served with a notice to quit based on nonpayment of rent. By June 30, 2021, tenants are required to pay 25% of the total amount of rent due between September 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Senate Bill 91 also establishes a new emergency rental assistance program to help renters who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Eviction Moratorium

On September 2, 2020 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a public health order to temporarily stop landlords from taking actions to evict tenants who provide a declaration that they are unable to pay rent and meet certain other requirements.

Under the CDC order, as extended recently by another CDC order, a tenant who provides this declaration may not be evicted for failure to pay rent through June 30, 2021.

This law may protect tenants who are not covered, for whatever reason, by the state law. It is not yet clear how this law applies to individual cases in California. A court may determine that it does apply, at least for those tenants not protected by state law, so a tenant unable to pay rent may want to provide the landlord with a declaration under the CDC order if they can do so.

New and Revised Forms

Based on recent state legislation and the extension of federal protections for tenants, the Judicial Council approved one new unlawful detainer form and revised two existing forms, all with an effective date of February 16, 2021:

Help and Resources for Tenants

Help and Resources for Landlords

Note: A notice to quit must have the same language and information as required before the passage of AB 3088 and SB 91. Read more about Eviction Notices. In addition to the information normally required on a notice to quit, a notice to quit or pay rent for COVID-19 rental debt must contain specific language regarding the tenant’s rights and responsibilities under the new laws. The text required is in the statute (and on the forms linked below). If served on or after February 1, 2021, the notice must contain information about the new time frame in the law and the emergency rental assistance program in SB 91. The landlord must also provide with the notice an unsigned declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress.

See Landlord Forms for links to specific language for required notices to tenants.

Help for Small Landlords
California's Tenant, Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 also offers some help to landlords in the form of mortgage forbearance.