• Kevin A. James

Update: The Status of Evictions in California

Given the changing landscape of California's response to COVID-19, we are providing an update on the status of evictions in California.


Previous Executive Orders


At the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Newsom issued two orders dealing specifically with tenancies: N-28-20 and N-37-20. The first order empowered local governments to temporarily halt residential and commercial evictions until May 31, 2020. The second order extended the time period to respond to a summons seeking to evict a residential tenant for nonpayment of rent related to COVID-19 for 60 days.


On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California took Gov. Newsom’s orders one step further and issued an emergency rule suspending eviction actions. Under the Judicial Council’s rule, a court cannot issue a summons on a complaint for an eviction, residential or commercial, unless the court finds that the action is necessary to protect public health and safety. This rule applies until 90 days after Gov. Newsom lifts the state of emergency or the Judicial Council amends or repeals the rule.


On May 29, 2020 Gov. Newsom extended the timeframe on his initial executive order for 60 days from that order, bringing the temporary halt to evictions to July 28, 2020.


The California Judicial Council was set to vote on whether to renew its 90-day extension of Gov. Newsom’s order, but on June 10, 2020 – after discussions with the Governor –Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye cancelled the vote. So, as it currently stands, the Judicial Council 90-day extension of the executive order is still in place.


Current Order


On June 30, 2020, Gov. Newsom signed Executive Order N-71-20 extending the time frame for local governments to temporarily halt evictions to September 30, 2020. With the Judicial Council 90-day rule still in place, the current halt on evictions runs to December 29, 2020. However, the Judicial Council or the Governor could amend or revoke the executive orders or rules prior to those dates; although it seems unlikely at this point given the most recent restrictions.


Takeaways


It is important for landlords and tenants to remember that the temporary halt of evictions only applies where the basis for the eviction is nonpayment of rent arising out of a substantial decrease in household or business income caused by COVID-19. There are still mechanisms for evicting a tenant for public health and safety reasons. Also, nothing in these orders or rules relieve a tenant of the obligation to pay rent, nor restrict a landlord’s ability to recover rent due.


If you have questions about landlord/tenant issues involving residential or commercial buildings, you may contact Kevin A. James, or any of the attorneys at Becker Nelson Center & James.

Kevin A. James is a business attorney in Placerville, CA. He helps business owners navigate the complex legal landscape in California with the goal of making his client’s businesses more profitable and simpler to operate. He can be reached at kjames@bncj-law.com or (530) 295-6400.


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