On August 31, 2020, California’s governor Gavin Newsom approved AB-3088 (also known as the Tenant Relief Act) as an emergency measure to establish a moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent as a result of COVID-19 related financial distress subject to various conditions until January 31, 2021.
The law prohibits landlords from evicting their tenants for unpaid rent accrued between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020, and accrued between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021 (if they pay 25 percent of the accrued rent for the latter period by January 31, 2021). If a tenant fails to pay 25 percent of owed rent till January 31, 2021, the landlord can start eviction proceedings from February 1, 2021.
Suppose a tenant experiencing COVID-19 related financial hardship receives an eviction notice from their landlord. In that case, they must sign and return the Declaration of COVID-19 related financial distress (accompanying the notice) within 15 days of receiving the notice. If you receive a notice that does not include a Declaration of COVID-19 related to financial distress, consult with a landlord-tenant attorney.
A high-income tenant may be asked to provide documentation to demonstrate COVID-19 related financial hardship. A tenant cannot be evicted if:
➢ They lost their job due to COVID-19 related business closure.
➢ They weren’t able to go to work and had to stay-at-home to care for a child or an elderly, sick, or disabled family member due to COVID-19 related school closures.
➢ Their work hours (and hence their hourly wages) were reduced due to COVID-19 related public health orders.
➢ Their income has decreased because of any other circumstances related to the pandemic.
AB-3088 permits landlords to sue tenants for unpaid rent beginning March 1, 2021. Certain limits on small claims jurisdiction have been lifted to facilitate the collection of unpaid rent.
The Tenant Relief Act increases the amount of time tenants has to respond to a notice demanding rent payment. Until February 1, 2021, tenants have 15 business days (instead of three) to respond to a demand to pay rent or other charges.
Landlords are required to provide their tenants with a notice informing them of their rights within a specified time.
The act prohibits landlords from evicting or retaliating against tenants for non-payment of rent before February 1, 2021. If a landlord tries to do so, they will incur financial liabilities.
When February 1st, 2021 happens, it’s important to make sure that the case for any evictions you want to begin are airtight and have been reviewed by an experienced landlord-tenant attorney in Santa Rosa.
If you want to evict a tenant but aren’t sure how to proceed, The Law Office of Stephen M. Beckwith can help. Stephen M. Beckwith knows the ins and outs of tenancy laws. Over the years, he has helped many landlords settle disputes with their tenants amicably. To discuss your case with the best landlord-tenant attorney in Santa Rosa, call (707) 526-5454.