Covid-19 Tenant Rights
Due to the state of emergency and shelter in place orders issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California Judicial Council (CJC) passed a series of emergency rules April on April 6th that protects renters.
“We are at this point truly with no guidance in history, law, or precedent,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, chair of the council, told the CJC. “And to say that there is no playbook is a gross understatement of the situation…”
Emergency rule one from the 11 the CJC issued specifically states that no summons for unlawful detainer (eviction notice) can be filed in court by a property owner until 90 days after the shelter in place order has ended. As result there isn't a single California court that will be able to take action in eviction proceedings until at least September 1st (assuming the shelter in place order ended June 1st).
Prior to the extraordinary emergencies’ rules passed by the state of California, Executive Order N-28-20 required renters to alert property owners who were unable to pay their rent to follow specific guidelines in order to seek protection. Written notice was required within 7 days. Documents proving either sickness or layoff directly related to Covid-19 was previously required. That is no longer the case.
It is extremely important to note the difference between the two orders. The new April 6th order does not require that a tenant be affected by Covid-19 in any way. Nor does it specify between commercial or residential tenancy. The protection is surprisingly far-reaching, and it is imperative that California tenants and Landlords both understand their rights and Duties.
A California tenant that is really in financial hardship can go a step further and file for bankruptcy protection BEFORE the landlord obtains a judgment in the unlawful detainer action.