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By now many of you have heard the news that California has passed new Tenant protection laws. AB 3088, which is effective as of September 1, 2020, covers all residential properties including mobile homes in the State of California. AB 3088 consists of changes to existing law and creation of new law. The bill is known as “Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020.”
It carries with it provisions which govern how you will be able to recover rents and depending on the time periods those rents came due. It will also govern your ability to proceed with an Unlawful Detainer.
Pursuant to AB 3088, any pay or quit that was issued to seek rent for the period between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020 for any residential or mobile home property is hereby defective as decreed by the State. This includes any Unlawful Detainer that has been filed based on Causes of Action arising out of those notices.
As of September 1, 2020, if a Landlord wishes to seek any rent or other charges (such as utilities, security deposit funds, costs owed related to damages, etc.) from a Tenant for any rent which was due between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020 (referred to by the State as the “Protected Period”), they must first serve the Notice of Statewide COVID-19 Tenant Protection, and do so no later than September 30, 2020. Our office is happy to provide this service for you.
So long as the Tenants receive the Notice of Statewide COVID-19 Tenant Protection prior to September 30, 2020, the Landlord may issue a 15 Business-Day Pay or Quit Notice, which will need to include specific statutory language, to the Tenant for the rents owed during the “Protected Period”. If a landlord fails to deliver the Notice of Statewide COVID-19 Tenant Protection prior to September 30, 2020, a landlord will not be able to file an Unlawful Detainer based on failure of the Tenants to pay the rents which were owed during the “Protection Period”. You don’t necessarily lose your rights to pursue that rent money, but you may not evict on that basis. (NOTE: If your City or County has a moratorium in place, this may still impact your ability to serve any notice which demands any kind of rent or other charge.)
For rents owed between September 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021 (referred to by the State as the “Transition Period”) the Notice of Statewide COVID-19 Tenant Protection need only be served concurrently with any 15 Business-Day Notice to Pay or Quit.
The Pay or Quit Notices required for the “Protected Period” and the “Transition Period” each have their own unique statutory required language.
Depending on the period of rent you are seeking, and depending on the city or county your property resides in, specific parameters will govern how and when your tenant is required to pay the amounts owed. Meaning, that there is no “blanket law” that can be referred to under the State as to a single, all-encompassing deadline date as to when your tenant will owe you the money requested and in what scheduled amounts. It will depend on where your property is located, but the method of service of the Notice is standard from now until January 31, 2021. However State law does require that any and all rent that was due during the periods from March 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021 (referred to by the State as the “Covered Period”) be paid to the Landlord no later than March 31, 2022.
After service of a 15 Business Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, a landlord must wait to see whether the tenant delivers to them a Declaration of COVID-19-related Financial Distress. If the tenant fails to provide such notice, the Landlord may start the unlawful detainer. If the tenant does provide such declaration, the Landlord must wait until January 31, 2021 to see if the Tenant has paid 25% of the months’ rent that is owed [see Helpful Information below]. If they do not pay as required, you may begin your Unlawful Detainer on February 1, 2021.
With regards to No-Fault evictions, such as terminating a month-to-month tenancy, only certain reasons are allowed. Those include, 1) if the owner wishes to move into the property, 2) if the owner wishes to remove the property from the rental market, 3) if the owner has entered into a sale of the property to a buyer who intends to occupy the property, 4) if the owner wishes to rehabilitate the property (pursuant to maintaining habitability only), or 5) by order of government or local agency with regards to habitability or illegal use/occupancy. Again - if your City or County has a moratorium that is in place, this may also impact your ability to serve any notice with regards to at-fault or no-fault causes outlined in AB-3088.
With regards to At-Fault eviction where a covenant of the agreement is violated or the Tenant is creating a nuisance, and not based, in whole or in part, on the failure to pay rent or any other charges, a standard 3-Day Notice may be issued, provided a local ordinance doesn’t restrict you further.
Due to the overwhelming volume of calls and emails our office has received with regards to these new changes, our office will not be able to answer your personal questions absent the scheduling of a consultation with our attorneys. Our consultation fees are $300 for up to one hour with regards to residential evictions and most commercial evictions.
Additional Helpful Information – including links and important deadlines:
Click here to access the full text of AB 3088.
To see if your tenants' households qualify as "High Income", click here to access the Department of Housing and Community Development's "State Income Limits for 2020" and scroll to the County your property resides in.
September 30, 2020 – You must have served your Notice of Statewide COVID-19 Tenant Protection PRIOR to this date if your tenant did not pay you rent for any month between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020.
October 5, 2020 – if you have a pending Unlawful Detainer based on non-payment of rent, the court will not issue a summons or enter a default until after this date.
January 31, 2021 – tenant must pay at least 25% total of any month’s rent where the Tenant has not paid at least 25% of that month’s rent only during the Transition period. For example, if your Tenant paid you 12% of September’s rent, 25% of October’s rent, and 0% of November’s rent, they owe you 13% from September’s rent, no additional rent for October, and 25% of November’s rent by January 31, 2021. The tenant’s timeframe to repay the remainder of the rents will be based on the city or county your property reside in.
February 1, 2021 – you no longer have to give a 15 Business- Day Pay or Quit notice for missed rents going forward, however, you may still fall under the jurisdiction of any moratoria that may still be in place with your local city or county.
February 1, 2021 – you can file an Unlawful Detainer action for a Tenant’s failure to make a payment totaling 25% of any missed month’s rent by January 31, 2021.
March 1, 2021 – this is the date that the State has declared as the beginning of the repayment period for the “Covered Period’s” rents if your City or County had a repayment period start date that fell after this date.
March 31, 2022 – this is the repayment deadline for “Covered Period” rents to be repaid by the Tenant. If your city or county did not have a repayment period stated in their moratoria or if your city or county did not have a moratoria to begin with, then there is no effective deadline for which your tenant may need to pay you by. In cases like this, you may seek a judgment for these rents owed through Small Claims court or a civil action, but you will not be able to file an Unlawful Detainer against your tenant for any of the “Covered Period” rents. This does not waive your right to pursue and Unlawful Detainer for any rents which have not been paid as of February 1, 2021.