What is the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020?

What is the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020?

California enacted the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (“Tenant Relief Act”) to protect residential tenants who were unable to pay rent due to financial distress related to COVID-19 from eviction.  This temporary moratorium is effective for the period of March 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021.  This period is divided into two separate periods from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020 and September 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021.  In both periods, the tenant cannot be evicted for failing to pay rent if they sign and return to the landlord a Declaration of COVID-19 Related Financial Distress (“Declaration”) within 15 days of receipt.  The tenant must declare under penalty of perjury that the tenant has not been able to pay part of all of the rent due to a COVID-19 related financial distress.  The period of September 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021 has an additional requirement—the tenant must pay at least 25% of each rental payment due during that period.

If the landlord provides the tenant with a Declaration and the tenant fails to return it within 15 days, then the Tenant Relief Act will not protect the tenant from eviction due to nonpayment of rent during the period of March 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021.  In other words, the landlord will be able to file an unlawful detainer action against the tenant.

A landlord can file an unlawful detainer action against tenants who fail to pay rent under the following circumstances:

March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020:

(1) The landlord gave the tenant an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020;

(2) The landlord gave the tenant protected by the Tenant Relief Act the mandatory notice required by the Tenant Relief Act to tenants who failed to pay one or more rental payments during the period of March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020;

(3) The landlord gave the tenant a Declaration form; and

(4) The tenant failed to return a signed Declaration to the landlord within 15 days.

September 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021

(1) The landlord gave the tenant an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent between September 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021;

(2) The landlord gave the tenant protected by the Tenant Relief Act the mandatory notice required by the Tenant Relief Act to tenants who failed to pay one or more rental payments during the period of March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020;

(3) The landlord gave the tenant a Declaration form;

(4) The tenant failed to return a signed Declaration to the landlord within 15 days; and

(5) The tenant failed to pay by January 31, 2021 at least 25% of each rental payment between September 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021.

 

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