COVID-19 Emergency Protections:
What You Need to Know
Since early March, numerous jurisdictions (city, county, and state) have passed emergency protections for residential tenants who have been hurt by the global health pandemic of COVID-19. All emergency protections make it very clear that tenants are still obligated to pay rent. However, tenants may have additional time to pay the rent if they meet certain requirements.
Since early April 2020, unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuits were frozen and were not moving forward unless a "public health and safety" exception applied. Beginning on September 2, 2020, unlawful detainer lawsuits will be moving forward again, although we expect some backlog in the courts. It is important that you understand your rights. We urge you to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you receive an eviction notice from your landlord or legal documents from the court. Also, stay up to date on what is happening in your community, as things are changing rapidly.
In this guide, you will find general information to help you understand your tenancy rights during the pandemic emergency:
o State of California (Judicial Council)
o County of Los Angeles
o Beverly Hills
o Culver City
o City of Los Angeles
o Santa Monica
o West Hollywood
o Cheat Sheet
o Flowchart: COVID-19 Unlawful Detainer Process in Los Angeles County
o Sample Letters to Landlord
This guide is for general informational purposes only and applies only to residential tenancies in the County of Los Angeles. For specific advice on how the COVID-19 emergency protections may apply to you, seek legal assistance from a qualified attorney.
Updated August 26, 2020. Content may change pending new information. Visit the resources page of our website (www.bettzedek.org) for updates.
Expiration of Statewide Emergency Eviction Rule (Sept. 1, 2020):
On April 6, 2020, a statewide emergency rule stopped new eviction cases (“unlawful detainer actions”) from moving forward and delayed pending eviction cases. The emergency rule applied to all eviction cases, unless the court found the case necessary to protect public health and safety.
The statewide emergency rule will expire on September 1, 2020. Cases will be moving forward starting on September 2, 2020.
Eviction Cases filed on or after April 6, 2020:
After the statewide emergency rule expires on September 1, 2020, courts will begin issuing the legal document ("summons") allowing the landlord to serve court papers on the tenant in an eviction case. Starting on September 2, 2020, we expect that courts will begin to issue summonses for eviction cases filed between April 6, 2020 and September 1, 2020, as well as for new eviction cases filed on or after September 2, 2020.
|PROTECTED TENANTS||All tenants, unless the court finds that the unlawful detainer (eviction) case is necessary to protect public health and safety.|
|NOTICE TO LANDLORD||➢ Tenants are not required to notify the landlord of an inability to pay rent due to reasons related to COVID-19.|
|DOCUMENTATION||➢ Tenants are not required to provide documentation to the landlord of an inability to pay rent due to reasons related to COVID-19.|
|EVICTION PROTECTIONS||➢ Before the emergency rule expires on September 1, 2020, the court may not issue a summons in any eviction case, unless the court finds that the eviction case is necessary to protect public health and safety. A summons is the legal document that requires the tenant to file a response with the court within five (5) days after the summons is served on the tenant.
➢ Before the emergency rule expires on September 1, 2020, the court may not enter a default or default judgment in any eviction case, unless the court finds that the eviction case is necessary to protect public health and safety. A default judgment is when the landlord asks the court to enter a judgment against a tenant who has not filed a response with the court within five (5) days after service of the summons.
➢ In pending eviction cases where the tenant has already appeared by filing a response with the court:
|EXPIRATION||The Emergency Rule will expire on September 1, 2020.|
|SOURCE||(1) Emergency Rule (April 6, 2020); (2) Temporary Emergency Rules on Evictions, Foreclosures Set to End at Midnight Sept. 1 After Judicial Council Vote (August 13, 2020).|
|COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES1|
|DEFERRED RENT||YES. Protected tenants will have 12 months following the termination of the executive order to pay any amounts due and owing under the order.2|
|PROTECTED TENANTS||Tenants who demonstrate an inability to pay rent, late charges, or any other fees accrued due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, the state of emergency regarding COVID-19, or following government-recommended COVID- 19 precautions. "inancial impacts" means a substantial loss of household income due to business closure, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, layoffs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses. A financial impact is "related to COVID-19" if it was a result of any of the following:
|NOTICE TO LANDLORD||➢ To be protected, the tenant must provide notice to the landlord that the tenant is unable to pay rent, late charges, or any other fees accrued due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.
➢ The tenant should provide the notice in writing.
➢ DEADLINE: Notice should be provided as soon as possible and must be provided within 7 days after the date that rent was due, unless extenuating circumstances exist.
|DOCUMENTATION||➢ Although the executive order does not require the tenant to provide documentation to the landlord demonstrating an inability to pay rent, late charges, or any other fees accrued due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, the tenant should keep documentation.
➢ Documentation will be needed if an eviction lawsuit is filed against the tenant.
➢ The tenant is allowed to provide, and the landlord must accept, a self-certification of the tenant’s inability to pay rent, and to provide notice to the landlord to that effect.