Better late than never to inform tenants of their rights under Senate Bill 91

Senate Bill 91 should be old news by now and we hope that our community has complied with the letter of the law by serving the requisite notice to tenants of their rights under the new legislation by February 28, 2021. Yet we are aware that many landlords and property managers have not done so.

We want you to know that it is better late than never. If you have missed the statutory deadline, it is better to show that you have made a good-faith effort to comply with the law, however tardy.

Why this is important

If you look at how the law is written, landlords must have served this notice by February 28, but we don't necessarily think this is a drop-dead date.

Normally what we have in law is a long litany of court interpretations - what we call "case law" - a process by which government edicts are thoroughly examined by judges. There is no such luxury during the pandemic, with new rules coming out so rapidly.

Indeed, judges are unlikely to fully grasp the barrage of tenant protections that Sacramento has put into place. The law is raw and untested.

What we can say for certain is that the intent of SB 91 and other laws that preceded it is that tenants should be educated on their rights and responsibilities. We suspect that the February 28th deadline is not cast in stone.

Do not fret - Bornstein Law has a copy of the notice and for any laggards who are concerned that they cannot take advantage of the rental assistance program because this procedural step was missed, please contact our offices to make sure this box is checked. Together, we can build a narrative that you have done your part in communicating tenants' rights.