The latest updates for rental housing providers and the professionals who serve them
We will get through this together, but only with proper facts, systematic protocols, documentation and informed advice.
On Friday, April 3, Daniel Bornstein hosted a webinar on the dual threat of COVID-19 and hoarding in rental units.
Complimentary documents, letters, and agreements provided as a public service during this pandemic. For informational purposes only. We can tailor correspondence and docs to your unique needs.
Template letter to use in response to rent strikes
Not complacent with eviction moratoriums in the wake of COVID-19, there is an organized movement that calls for a rent strike, along with demands for a complete waiver of past due rent. We have prepared a letter to use if you encounter this.
Oakland rent forbearance agreement template
You spoke and we listened. While some of our material was SF-centric, we put together a rent forbearance agreement for Oakland residents who assert a COVID-19 related hardship.
Letter to send to all tenants in close proximity when the coronavirus is detected
Let’s hope that COVID-19 does not infect an occupant within the building you own or manage, but we must develop a contingency plan. You can download sample correspondence to send to neighboring tenants when the novel virus has been detected.
Amendment to lease agreement when the tenant hasn't taken possession of the unit yet
We anticipate a dilemma when landlords have entered into a lease agreement before the tenant has taken possession of the unit, only to have the incoming tenant claim a coronavirus-related hardship. This amendment to the lease agreement can assist property owners in resolving an admittedly tricky situation.
Letter to send when tenant indicates a hardship
Owners and property managers should engage in compassionate, but firm outreach efforts - communication is key to avoid any ambiguities with new rules and expectations. We have a letter prepared that serves as a springboard.
Landlords and tenants alike may be able to get temporary relief
Oakland inks its eviction moratorium
In a special online meeting held on March 26th, the Oakland City Council passed an emergency eviction moratorium that:
(1) Imposes A Moratorium On Residential Evictions, Rent Increase, And Late Fees During The Local Emergency Proclaimed In Response To The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic;
(2) Prohibiting Residential And Commercial Evictions Based On Nonpayment Of Rent That Became Due During The Local Emergency When Tenant Suffered A Substantial Loss Of Income Due To COVID-19;
(3) Prohibiting Residential Evictions For Non-Payment Of Rent When The Landlord Impeded The Payment Of Rent; And
(4) Calling On State And Federal Legislators And On Financial Institutions To Provide Relief To Low-income Homeowners And Landlords.
A recap about our discussion in the BerkeleySphere
Daniel was privileged to join a roundtable discussion hosted by the Berkeley Property Owner's Association, an excellent grass roots trade association that represents rental housing providers throughout the city and one we recommend you join.
Cities throughout the Bay Area are taking a pause on evictions.
Although San Francisco has blazed a trail in bringing displacements to a standstill, other cities will not be undone.
Hayward passed its iteration with a 90-day moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment of rent cases and no-fault evictions that would otherwise be allowed under the ordinance. Refreshingly, the landlord can come to the mediating table to participate in negotiating payment agreements when the tenant claims a hardship related to COVID-19. Taking a balanced approach, Hayward requires tenants must be able to document the loss of income. Expected to be launched on April 15, the program will prohibit from charging late fees and filing eviction actions until 90 days after the expiration of the moratorium. More details here.
Concord City Council approved a temporary freeze on evictions for failure to pay rent, utilities, late fees or penalties for both residential and commercial tenants who experience a loss in household or business income. Download an informational PDF.
Unincorporated Alameda County
In Alameda County, the Board of Supervisors approved an urgency ordinance proving a 30-day moratorium on evictions in the unincorporated parts of the county if renters can demonstrate a substantial loss of income as a result of the coronavirus.
Alameda City takes a bit of an inventive approach by not banning evictions outright, but by creating an affirmative defense to eviction actions when the tenant has a substantial loss of income, extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses, or extraordinary child care needs. Going a step further, Alameda bans landlords from shutting off a tenant's utilities for reasons unrelated to an emergency. You can read the ordinance here.
Berkeley has forbidden evictions of all kinds for individuals and businesses when they can't pay their rent or mortgage if they can show they were affected by the shelter-in-place order. The ordinance also stipulates that a landlord may not charge or collect a late fee for rent that is delayed for reasons related to the public health crisis.
San Jose's moratorium on evictions will be in effect for 30 days with the possibility of an extension each month. To qualify, residents must notify their landlords either before or on the day their rent is due, as well as provide documentation such as notices from schools shutting down, doctor’s notes, quarantine advisories or pay stubs, showing they have faced a substantial loss of income due to the virus.
BORNSTEIN LAW IN THE MEDIA
Weighing the privacy concerns of tenants infected with coronavirus with the safety of neighboring residents
Daniel was quoted in this piece on the ethical conundrum landlords face when balancing public safety against privacy when tenants test positive for coranavirus. Landlords have to communicate "in a manner that doesn’t cause panic and that doesn’t create greater risk than is necessary. Those types of issues are very tricky and we are in uncharted territory. It’s new for us,” he told CBS San Francisco.
Educational videos from our friends at the California Apartment Association
Email broadcasts on this fluid subject
We share a rent forbearance agreement tailored for Oakland and give a recap of our riveting conversation on Berkeley's response to COVID-19. The policy-making arm of the judiciary issues new rules that grind most evictions to a halt, and we share a replay of a webinar on handling the dual threat of COVID-19 and hoarding.
Oakland has availed its newfound police powers to usher in considerable protections. While the City has been a little delayed in enacting an eviction moratorium, what it lacks in timeliness it makes up for in teeth.
When a tenant is infected with COVID-19, other residents should be notified without violating the privacy of the inflicted tenant. We share a letter that achieves this difficult balancing act, along with an amend to a lease agreement when the tenant hasn't taken possession of the unit yet, but asserts a hardship related to the novel virus. We also survey moratoriums throughout the Bay Area. Our Governor announces mortgage relief that will benefit small landlords.
We report the abbreviated court schedules that have ground unlawful detainer actions to a halt, and note that Sheriff offices will not be enforcing evictions for the foreseeable future. We urge owners and operators to engage in diplomacy. Governor Newsom paves the way for municipalities to enact prohibitions on evictions.
In our introductory email on this subject, we impart our initial thoughts and suggest protocols to deal with the pandemic.
Effective immediately, the Governor has instituted a statewide ban on evictions when renters are unable to pay the rent because of COVID-19. The executive order lasts until May 31 and prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent. It also prohibits the enforcement of evictions by law enforcement and the courts.
The tenant is required to retain documentation to substantiate a financial impact of COVID-19.