The End of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction Moratorium
On August 13, 2020, the Judicial Council of California voted 19-1 to end the COVID-19 emergency eviction moratorium rules that were put in place in April 2020. The moratorium rules effectively halted both residential and commercial evictions by preventing the courts from issuing a Summons on Unlawful Detainer (eviction) lawsuits, unless the court found that the action was necessary to protect public health and safety. Without the Summons, landlords were unable to serve tenants with eviction lawsuits which prevented landlords from proceeding with the eviction process.
The Judicial Council originally stated that the emergency eviction rules implemented in April 2020 would be effective until 90 days after Governor Newsom lifted the state of emergency or until the Judicial Council amended or repealed the eviction rules. The emergency eviction rules are now set to expire on September 1, 2020 at midnight. This means that after September 1, 2020, tenants will no longer be protected by the Judicial Council’s rules to postpone the eviction of tenants who have failed to pay rent or are in default.
After September 1, 2020, tenants will only be protected from evictions if the state or a local ordinance provides for such protections. Therefore, landlords should determine whether a local ordinance provides tenants with eviction protections before proceeding with an eviction action. In addition, landlords should be aware that Governor Newsom and local lawmakers are working on legislation to continue to protect tenants from evictions.
For now, the Judicial Council’s vote to end the eviction moratorium on September 1, 2020 is considered a “win” for landlords. However, given the state of the pandemic, eviction rules and regulations are subject to change.
Claudia Aceves is a Partner in the Modesto office of Borton Petrini, LLP.
Legal Disclaimer: Please be informed that legislation and laws are rapidly developing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the legal analysis that is being provided is based on the analysis of the current legislation and current agency guidance, as it stands at this moment. Additional legislation and/or changes to current legislation may impact the information being given herein. This article is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.