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California’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act Extended

covid-19 tenant relief act

Just before midnight on August 31st, Governor Newsom signed AB 3088 into law. Effective minutes later, on September 1, 2020, this act protects residential tenants who have been financially affected by the pandemic from eviction for non-payment of rent through January 31, 2021. 

Here are some noteworthy points

The notice period to tenants for non-payment of rent due between March 1st and January 31, 2021 is extended from 3 to 15 days. This gives tenants additional time to pay or to provide a declaration of hardship in response to the notice. 

Tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent between March 1st – August 31, 2020 if they provide a declaration stating they have been financially impacted by COVID-19. For higher-income tenants, additional proof may be needed. 

For the period between September 1st – January 31, 2021, along with a financial hardship declaration, tenants are required to pay a minimum of 25% of the rent. 

The missed rental amounts are not excused. However, any unpaid balance

becomes a consumer debt, which may be pursued by a landlord in small claims court starting on March 1, 2021, not by eviction. 

Failing to return a financial hardship declaration may result in an eviction proceeding. 

Other fault or no-fault “just cause” evictions (such as nuisance, breach of lease terms, and owner move ins) can begin on September 2nd

How does this affect San Francisco and its eviction moratorium? 

San Francisco’s eviction moratorium remains in place through November 29, 2020, but it can change or be extended again. Meanwhile, residential tenants who have been financially impacted are given six months (to April 1, 2021) to pay back the owed rent and cannot be evicted during such time. However, unlawful detainers evictions are still permissible when a tenant poses an imminent threat to public safety, or when a landlord removes a rental property from the rental market (Ellis Act). 

Notice and declaration requirements for both landlords and tenants are complex. For landlords, missteps can lead to steep penalties. For tenants, missteps can lead to lapse in protection and, thus, eviction. To ensure protection on either side, we are here to offer our professional guidance and expertise. 

By September 30th, landlords are required to provide an informational notice about the new law to tenants who missed rent between March 1st and August 31, 2020. If you have questions about this, please feel free to contact us for assistance. 

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