Eviction moratoriums are over. Now what? 

There may not be instant gratification for cash-starved landlords, as Daniel explains in a recent interview. Edited for brevity.



Is your office seeing more activity because of pent-up demand as eviction moratoriums expire? I would imagine so. 

Our office is firing on all cylinders as the summer transitions into the academic year and September is upon us.

The Berkeley moratorium was over at the end of August and we have many clients eagerly seeking the opportunity to recover rent debt that has accrued or will arise, as we return to a sense of normalcy in how we manage landlord-tenant relationships.


We’ve talked a lot about Oakland, which seems to march to the beat of its own drum. After eviction protections expired, policymakers went a step further by enacting new tenant protections. Has this presented a challenge for your office? 

The most problematic issue in Oakland is that before we take action, the rent amount owed has to reach a prescribed threshold. The rent amount due has to be the fair market rate as determined by HUD. This formula is based on the number of bedrooms, and they somehow come up with an arbitrary number on what is a “fair” rent amount that can be charged.

They ask, essentially, based on the size of the dwelling, what is a reasonable amount of rent that can be charged? If the rent is too low, we have to wait for rent debt to accumulate more in order to demand rent, and it’s crazy.

It seems counterproductive for policymakers who want “affordable housing” but then penalize those landlords who provide low rents. Although the overarching goal is affordable housing, Oakland lawmakers have told landlords: If you have low rents, it will take you longer to get paid.

So, those Oakland housing providers charging cheap rent will be horribly disappointed to learn that we have to wait longer to commence eviction proceedings because there is not enough debt piled up yet - in some cases, we have to wait for more missed rent payments.


What about the speed of the courts? There’s been limited bandwidth to handle cases. Is patience in order? 

To varying degrees, the courts are congested and problematic. You can pull your hair out in Marin County. There are delays and errors made by court personnel.

When our clients obtain a default judgment in Oakland, there is at least a 2-week delay to get a default judgment for eviction entered, whereas it would normally take 2 days in a pre-pandemic world.

In Contra Costa County, it takes four weeks after a judgment for the Sheriff to fulfill their role in the eviction process by removing the tenant.

The San Francisco courts are running out of real estate, no pun intended. There’s simply a lack of courtrooms to handle the volume of cases.

Having said that, we are making significant progress in working disputes through the once-slumbering courts that are now more functional. Patience is in order, though.