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California’s COVID-19 Residential Eviction Moratorium

California residential renters that are struggling to pay rent during the Covid-19 pandemic are shielded from eviction through September 30, 2021:

  • Tenants have a defense in court should their landlord try to evict them over non-payment of rent through September 30, 2021. Residential tenants are required to submit to their landlord that they are unable to pay full rent and the reasons for such.
  • Tenants are required to timely pay at least twenty-five percent (25%) of their monthly rent between September 1, 2020 and June 2021, or its entirety by September 30, 2021to avoid eviction.

Delinquent tenants must be served with the now required Covid-19 fifteen (15) day notice to pay rent or quit. If the tenant fails to provide the mandated declaration form that they are unable to pay full rent before the fifteen (15) day notice expires, they can end up being evicted.

Tenants are still required to honor other terms of their residential lease in order to avoid eviction for reasons other than non-payment of rent.

Evictions over non-payment of rent could resume on October 1, 2021. However:

  • Residential tenants who make less than eighty percent (80%) of their area’s median income and were financially affected by COVID-19 would have another six (6) months to apply for rental assistance funds.

If the tenant’s rent relief application is approved, the eviction process will be stayed and landlords may receive compensation for unpaid rent. If a tenant is not eligible, the landlord’s eviction proceeding will proceed.

If a landlord tries to evict the tenant over non-payment of rent, a California judge will be able to ascertain whether the tenant received state dollars. If the tenant paid the full amount to the landlord, the eviction will be denied.

To file an eviction lawsuit after September 30, 2021, the residential landlord is required to provide evidence to the court that the landlord applied for rental assistance. If the landlord provides this information to the court, his or her eviction lawsuit will only be able to proceed if the tenant does not complete his or her application for state rental funds or qualify for state financial assistance

California landlords are still able to evict tenants for a substantial remodel only if that is necessary to comply with health and safety standards, and if the owner of the property is selling it to a buyer who intends to occupy the property. California landlords cannot obtain an eviction if the landlord intends to sell the property to someone who intends to rent out the place. 

Given the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in California, I would not be surprised if California’s governor extended the residential eviction moratorium through the end of 2021.


By: Edward McCutchan

Sunderland | McCutchan, LLP

1803 Vineyard Plaza Suite 907

Healdsburg, CA 95448

Telephone: (707) 433-0377

Fax: (707) 433-0379  

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