Effective April 6, 2020, the California Judicial Council of California adopted the following Emergency Rules of the California Rules of Court:
1) A court may not issue a summons for an unlawful detainer (eviction lawsuit) unless the court finds the at the unlawful detainer is necessary to protect public health and safety.
2) A court cannot enter a default or default judgment when the defendant does not appear (respond) in an unlawful detainer case unless both of the following apply:
a. The case is necessary to protect public health and safety; and
b. The defendant has not appeared (responded) in the action within the time required by law.
3) A court cannot set a trial date earlier than 60 days after a request for a trial unless the court finds that an earlier trial date is necessary to protect public health and safety.
This rule will remain in effect for 90 days after the Governor lifts the state of emergency related to COVID -19, or until these rules are amended or lifted by the Judicial Council.
What does this mean for the landlord?
These Emergency Rules stop all pre-judgment eviction cases that are already filed and prohibits you from filing new cases unless the court finds that the eviction case is necessary to protect public health and safety. If you already have a judgment for possession against your tenants, we believe that these new rules do not apply to you and that you will be able to seek a lockout when the Court reopens.
What if my tenant is not paying rent and creating a nuisance at the property? Can I still evict my tenant?
Currently, the Judicial Council rules state that the court can only proceed with an unlawful detainer/eviction if the court determines the action is necessary to protect public health and safety. Therefore, if your tenant is creating a nuisance at the property that is affecting public health and safety, then you would be able to proceed with an action based on nuisance. It is unclear whether you can proceed on both nonpayment of rent and nuisance at the same time.
I want to serve my tenants with a notice for nonpayment of rent and nuisance. Can I still serve the notices?
It depends. Now more than ever it is important to get legal advice from an attorney before serving notice or entering into agreements with your tenant. Government entities are publishing and enacting new tenant protections every day that sometimes conflict with other protections. Please call our office with any questions that you have prior to serving any notice.