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  • Jason Tuvia

California Implements Statewide Ban on Evictions

Gov. Newsom Gives Renters Reprieve Until End of May

California has implemented a statewide eviction moratorium to help renters already struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the ban, which bars residential landlords from evicting tenants unable to make their rent as a result of lost work, illness or being left to care for a family member because of the virus. The moratorium, issued Friday, also prohibits courts and law enforcement officials from eviction proceeding. It is scheduled to stay in effect through May 31.

In the week since the state ordered a "stay at home" directive, a patchwork of cities and counties have implemented residential and commercial eviction moratoriums as a resource to help with unemployment, extended business closures and illness complications. More than 60 jurisdictions throughout California including San Francisco enacted some form of renter's protection after the governor granted local governments the power to do so last week.

To qualify, renters must send a written notice to their landlord no more than a week after their rent is due that they are unable to pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19. According to the governor's statement, the tenant would also be required to submit documentation proving the hardship.

Tenants will still be obligated to repay the full rent in what the state called a "timely manner," although specifics were not provided. The landlord could also continue eviction proceedings once the moratorium is lifted.

As the virus continues to wreak havoc on states' economic and health care systems across the country, eviction moratoriums have been quickly adopted as a way to help ease tenants' mounting financial woes. Seattle, Boston and other cities have implemented similar measures since the outbreak. On the state level, New York, Kentucky and Massachusetts have barred some or all eviction proceedings.

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