• Sasha Struthers

Answering Common Questions About AB832- CA Eviction Moratorium Through September 30, 2021.

Alright. Governor Newsom signed AB 832. This is the residential eviction moratorium extension through September 30, 2021. If you don't feel like reading all that here are the highlights:

When can a landlord collect back rent in small claims court?

- That depends. If there is a local payback period (like LA City and LA County have for 12 months) then you can't file a small claims case for back rent until likely October 1, 2022. If there is no pay back period adopted in your area, then you can file a small claims case starting November 1, 2021.

What burden does the landlord have in a small claims case?

- Besides having the documentation evidencing the back rent owed, the landlord MUST show they tried to get rent relief. This is why I heavily encourage every landlord to apply for the applicable rent relief, even if you think the tenant is high income or otherwise won't qualify. Applying for the rent relief shows you complied with the statute. The burden is then on the tenant to show they either (1) also applied or cooperated with the application, (2) didn't cooperate at all or (3) did not qualify as low income enough.

- If you don't apply then the court can potentially reduce the award. This is not entirely clear yet.

Do I still have to agree to the 80/20?

- Not anymore. The State now will pay 100% of the back rent and prospective rent for approved applicants.

Do tenants need to pay the 25% to avoid eviction yet?

- Yes and no. If you did not issue 15 day notices in June then the tenant likely does not need to pay the 25% for September 2020-June 2021 rent yet.

- Starting July 1, 2021 all 15 Day notices must include revised language as quoted in the law. This text alerts tenants to their need to pay 25% of September 2020-September 2021 back rent before September 30, 2021 to avoid eviction.

-If the tenant and you are approved for rent relief the payments are supposed to go out to landlords before September 30, 2021 to avoid this very issue.

I want to sell my house but the tenant won't leave, can they be evicted?

- If the landlord is under contract to sale a property and the buyer plans to occupy the property then the tenant can be issued a 60 day notice by the landlord. LA County specifically carved out this provision as well in its moratorium. In dealing with judges, they interpret LA City's moratorium as applying only when the basis for default is related to COVID-19. So terminating a tenancy so the new owner can move in does not seem related to COVID-19. That is a little gray and I suggest you talk to an attorney, like myself, if your property is in LA City.

If I am required to pay a tenant relocation fees may I offset this against COVID-19 back rent?

- Yes, you may. Even if the relocation fees are based on local laws.

Do I use the same 15 Day Notices as I was before?

- The language required in the notices has now changed because of the extension. You should talk to an eviction attorney before sending out any 15 Day Notices as the language might be outdated.

How long with LA tenants have to pay back rent after the moratoriums are lifted or local emergency is declared over?

- The payback periods are 12 months for residential. LA County's moratorium is set to expire September 30, 2021, so tenants will have 12 months or until September 30, 2022. LA City goes by when it declares the emergency over, which may or may not align with the County and State. Thereafter, if the back rent is not paid you may commence a small claims case.

What about the rent that comes due on and after October 1, 2021?

- The 3 day notice to pay or quit is reinstated on October 1, 2021, HOWEVER, in CA fashion there are a few requirements a landlord must meet before a summons can be issued on an unlawful detainer filed between October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022:

  • Landlord filed a rent relief application for the rent covered in the notice.

  • The application was denied.

  • Copy of final decision showing application was denied

OR

  • Landlord filed a rent relief application for the rent covered in the notice.

  • 21 Days passed after the application was submitted or after the 3 Day Notice was served, which ever is later.

  • Tenant has not submitted the paperwork required of them to obtain the rent relief.

  • Tenant has not communicated to landlord that they have submitted their application for rent relief.

The Court then can find in favor of the landlord if the decision on the application is (a) lack of eligibility (b) lack of funding, or (c) the application remained incomplete because the tenant failed to complete their portion of the application for 15 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and other judicial holidays, after the landlord properly completed it's portion.

When is the government going to issue out payments for approved applications?

- I've seen some payments already go out. Some are in the works. But the new statue requires systems be in place to distribute the money and have record of final decisions on applications no later than September 15, 2021. For tenants that are already approved but continue to not pay rent for a period not covered by the approved funds, it is entirely likely a new application for that tenant will need to be filled out to address this new rental debt.

I am sure you have a lot of questions. Given the volume and randomness of calls I get, I suggest you email me. I do respond as quickly as I can.


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The information in this post is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this post should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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