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:
• Expiration of Statewide Emergency Eviction Rule (Sept. 1, 2020)
• Court Schedule for Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) Cases in Los Angeles County
• Sheriff Lockouts
• Los Angeles COVID-19 Rent Relief
• Getting Free Legal Help
• Frequently Asked Questions: General Information for Tenants
• COVID-19 Emergency Eviction Protections: Know Your Rights
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
• Cities in the County of Los Angeles That Have Issued Emergency Tenant
• Resources and Tools:
o Flowchart: COVID-19 Unlawful Detainer Process in Los Angeles County
o Sample Letters to Landlord
▪ Sample Letter A (Notice of Inability to Pay Rent due to COVID-19)
▪ Sample Letter B (Documentation of Inability to Pay Rent due to
▪ Sample Letter C (Illegal Lockout)
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
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,
If a summons and complaint is served on a tenant, the tenant should seek legal
assistance immediately, and must respond within 5 days to avoid an automatic default
judgment. Weekends and judicial holidays do not count toward the 5-day timeline. Also,
in Los Angeles County, all days from August 10 through September 8 (inclusive) are
considered judicial holidays that do not count towards the 5-day timeline.
Pending Eviction Cases (filed before April 6, 2020):
Tenants should receive notice of the trial date for their eviction case in the mail. While
some eviction cases may be delayed due to the court’s backlog, trials in eviction
cases may begin as early as October 5, 2020.
A default judgment happens when a landlord asks the court to enter an automatic
judgment against a tenant who has not filed a timely response in an eviction case.
When the emergency rule expires on September 1, 2020, courts will be able to issue
default judgments when a tenant does not file a timely response to their eviction case.
This means that if a tenant is served with a summons and complaint for an
eviction case, the tenant must file a response within 5 days to avoid a default
Again, weekends and judicial holidays do not count toward the 5-day timeline. Also,
August 10 through September 8 (inclusive) are considered judicial holidays that do not
count towards the 5-day timeline.