Evictions in California could resume in February

Posted at 4:41 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 20:22:46-04

An emergency bill in California will continue the state's moratorium on evictions for nonpayment, but evictions could resume in February.

The deal, reached Friday, will avoid what some had dubbed the eviction cliff that was set to begin Sept. 1. That was when the Judicial Council's order stopping courthouses from taking nonpayment eviction cases was going to expire.

This bill, called the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, does two major things to protect tenants:

1) It converts unpaid rent from March 1 to Aug. 31 to civil debt, meaning a tenant cannot be evicted for nonpayment. Instead, that person can ultimately be taken to small claims court.

2) It prevents eviction of tenants who pay at least 25 percent of their rent from Sept. 1. to Jan 31, 2021. If a tenant pays at least 25 percent, the rest would be converted to civil debt. Otherwise, a landlord can begin eviction proceedings Feb. 1, 2021.

Gov. Newsom announced the deal Friday, saying he would sign the bill once it reaches his desk.

The Southern California Rental Housing Association expressed major concerns about the legislation, saying it does not protect against financial ruin for landlords. In a statement, it said the bill doesn't provide rental income assistance, and does not guarantee landlords will ever get the money they are owed.

The bill requires a two-thirds vote, and is expected to be taken up in both houses of the state legislature Monday.