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Today, March 27, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-37-20 establishing a statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants for non-payment of rent for those tenants effected by COVID-19. 

Executive Order N-37-20 extends the deadline for a residential tenant to respond to a summons and complaint for unlawful detainer for a period of 60 days, if the tenant can meet certain requirements. These requirements include the following:

1.     The tenant notifies the landlord in writing before the rent is due, or within a reasonable period of time afterwards not to exceed 7 days, that the tenant needs to delay all or some payment of rent because of an inability to pay the full amount due to reasons related to COVID-19, including but not limited to the following:

  • The tenant was unavailable to work because the tenant was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19;
  • The tenant experienced a lay-off, loss of hours, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19, the state of emergency, or related government response; or
  • The tenant needed to miss work to care for a child whose school was closed in response to COVID-19.

2.     The tenant retains verifiable documentation, such as termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining the tenant’s changed financial circumstances, to support the tenant’s assertion of an inability to pay. This documentation may be provided to the landlord no later than the time upon payment of back-due rent.

In addition to the above restrictions, local governments may still enact emergency legislation based on Executive Order N-28-20, which allows local governments to enact legislation that halts residential or commercial evictions for non-payment of rent when there is a documented decrease in household income caused by COVID-19. 

On March 25, 2020, the San Diego City Council passed emergency Ordinance Number O-21177, which enacts a temporary moratorium on evictions due to nonpayment of rent for residential AND commercial tenants that will remain in effect until May 31, 2020.  This Ordinance only applies to properties located in the City of San Diego.  Please note, there are provisions of Ordinance Number O-21177 that conflict with Executive Order N-37-20.  The more restrictive provisions of Executive Order N-37-20 apply.  Our office will issue a statement on how to apply these laws in the City of San Diego next week.