Governor extends executive order, local eviction moratoriums tied to the order remain in place.
This past Sunday, May 31, came and went without much fanfare. That was the date when an earlier executive order paving the way for localities to use their newfound police powers to usher in sweeping tenant protections was set to expire. That was never a drop-dead date, and Governor Newsom now has extended his original order to July 28.
Most local eviction bans were in lockstep with the Governor’s directives, and so they, too, were extended. Interestingly, the Governor allowed another executive order to lapse, namely one that allowed tenants impacted by COVID-19 some extra time to respond to unlawful detainer actions.
This raises the question of whether it is prudent to serve a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, and the answer will depend on your circumstances.
Generally speaking, we would not recommend in most cases to become overly exuberant and serve a three-day notice, because it might come back to bite the owner, especially when the non-payment of rent is attributable to the pandemic. One potential exception might be the “silent” tenant who has put their head in the sand and has made no effort to discuss an inability to pay rent with the rental property owner or operator.
When the tenant cannot be reached whatsoever, it is a bad omen. Perhaps the tenant has no intention of paying rent and is purposely evading the landlord. It’s entirely possible, as well, that the tenant has vacated the rental unit without proper notice and in violation of the lease. We discuss how to handle “runaway” tenants here.
Keep in mind that, although three-day notices can be filed, the court will not yet review them except in the most egregious of circumstances where life and limb are at risk.Also, be aware once you serve the notice and the three-day period elapses (not counting court holidays and weekends) you cannot accept a penny in rent without having to start the process over because acceptance of rent after the expiration of the notice reinstitutes the tenancy.
The federal government has a say, too
Most people know the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as an economic assistance package, but the legislation also provides a temporary moratorium on evictions for certain tenants like those residing in federally-subsidized apartments, including those supported by HUD, USDA or Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments). This ban on eviction extends to renters who occupy homes covered by federally-backed mortgages for 120 days after enactment. We are talking about FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
Now more than ever, it is vital to tether yourself to attorneys specializing in landlord-tenant law. Bornstein Law is intimately familiar with the rules and can advise you how to manage relationships against the backdrop of state and local eviction moratoriums, varying restrictions on no-fault evictions, and regulations that govern tenant buyout agreements.