The Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented development in our nation’s history, sparking widespread panic, shutdowns, and contributing to, what most people living paycheck to paycheck would call, an already tenuous economy. As a result of workplaces shutting down to avoid spreading the virus, many found themselves unable to work, with economic impact payments doing little to support those who needed it the most and savings being unable to support individuals or whole families throughout the initial stages of the pandemic.
To help those most impacted by the pandemic navigate this crisis, eviction moratoriums were put into place throughout several states. This afforded both renters and landlords with certain protections to help them navigate the uncertain times ahead. However, as we fast forward two years later, many protections are coming to the end now that things are returning to, for lack of a better word, “normal”.
For those in California where the eviction moratorium has recently come to an end, landlords and tenants might not be sure how this impacts them or whether or not there are still some protections and forms of relief that safeguard them from the repercussions of removing the moratorium. Are you a landlord or renter looking to learn more about the California eviction moratorium, especially now that it has expired?
Let’s take a closer look at what this development means for you and what you should do as you navigate these changes moving forward.
What Exactly Is the California Eviction Moratorium?
In the early stages of the pandemic, many who were out of work due to the pandemic found themselves unable to pay their bills, for which rent was a huge part. To provide renters with relief and to ensure that they weren't evicted because of their inability to pay, California pushed through California Assembly Bill 3088 (protecting qualified residential tenants from being evicted), Senate Bill No. 91 (expanding existing tenant rights and protections as well as offering federal rental assistance), and Assembly Bill No. 832 (designed to support landlords of tenants unable to pay their rent).
Insofar, this moratorium and additional protections offered tenants (and even landlords) support over the last two years. However, as of 6/30/22, these protections have come to an end. Now, tenants and landlords need to know what rights they have and how to proceed moving forward without these statewide protections in place.
Related Reading: How Much Can a Landlord Raise Rent in California?
I’m a Tenant, What Does the Expiration of the California Eviction Moratorium Mean for Me?
The first thing to address as a tenant is the host of misconceptions associated with the California eviction moratorium. While many believe that the moratorium provided tenants with a way to avoid evictions because they couldn't pay rent (in some cases this is true), the reality is that recent guidelines and local eviction moratoriums still require you to pay your rent. Instead, they offer certain protections designed to defend against eviction because of financial hardship and while you wait for rental assistance from the state.
Let’s take a look at a few essential pieces of information that tenants need to know about the California eviction moratorium now that it’s expired:
- Certain protections provided by the California Tenant Relief and Rental Housing Recovery Acts still remain. This includes the protection of tenants with unpaid rent between 3/1/20 and 8/31/20 who filed a Declaration of COVID-19-Related Financial Distress as well as tenants who filed the above and paid at least 25 percent of their unpaid rent between 9/1/20 and 9/30/21.
- The recent extension of the California eviction moratorium, which officially expired on 6/30/22, only protected renters from eviction who applied for Housing is Key couldn't be evicted for non-payment up to 4/1/22. After this date, all renters were responsible for paying 100 percent of their rent each month.
- Applications are currently closed, but yours may still be pending. In fact, recent research shows that at least 217,000 renters were still waiting for their rental assistance to be approved. Make sure to reach out to your landlord with your declaration form, reach out to see where your rental relief application is at, and take initiative to make sure that you’ve done everything to avoid eviction and keep yourself protected as the California eviction moratorium comes to an end.
Most importantly, tenants need to know that evictions still took place and will still take place. In some cases, such as for tenants who may have caused a nuisance in their current apartment or those who were denied assistance, the eviction is completely legal. If you’re currently facing eviction or you’re unsure about your rights and protections, reaching out to a legal expert for support is the best next step.
While the California eviction moratorium has expired, many cities and counties have continued protections in place.
So, does this mean that tenants don't have any protection now that the California eviction moratorium is no longer in place? Not exactly…
In fact, while the California eviction moratorium has ended, there are plenty of states and counties that have enacted their own moratoriums to provide continued support to tenants experiencing financial hardship or concerned about what might happen now that the moratorium has lifted.
Some of these local moratoriums may provide a few months of relief while others run until the end of the year. Additionally, local moratoriums may provide relief for both residential tenants and commercial tenants, which can be helpful for those who may not have been afforded protection under the statewide moratorium. If you want to see whether your city or country has a local moratorium in place to keep you protected now that the California eviction moratorium has expired, you can get a comprehensive overview of protections around the state and details of each moratorium here.
As a tenant, it’s crucial that you do your due diligence, understanding these eviction moratoriums fully and what type of protections they offer you in regards to staying in your current residence.
Take action immediately if you need support, make sure you understand the entire process, work with your landlord to ensure that they've been notified and given any proper documentation, and seek out legal help when you need it. While eviction moratoriums are designed to protect those who need it most, evictions may still occur, and it’s up to you to make sure that you’re taking all the necessary steps to take full advantage of the available legal defenses and support now that the California eviction moratorium has come to an end.
What Does the Expiration of the California Eviction Moratorium Mean for Landlords?
The application deadline for reimbursement has come and gone. However, like tenants, a landlord might still have an application for reimbursement that hasn’t been processed, even if said application had been submitted long before the eviction moratorium expired. Make sure to reach out if you haven't heard back about your application to ensure that you receive your relief.
Speaking to evictions themselves, this might be tricky legal territory for landlords. Many landlords have received notices that their evictions are not legal either because they failed to be aware of the protections offered to tenants by the California eviction moratorium or because they filed an eviction once the California eviction moratorium expired and were unaware of the local moratoriums extending renter protection.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Renter's Rights in California
So, what should landlords be doing now that the statewide moratorium has expired and new local ones are in place?
- Conduct further research to understand the moratorium laws in your city or county. Additionally, see which protections from the California eviction moratorium still apply so as to avoid filing for eviction when renters have already satisfied the conditions needed to avoid legal action.
- Learn more about the actions renters have to take in order to successfully leverage local eviction moratoriums. If a renter is not going through the right course of action and there are grounds for eviction, it might be legal to carry out the eviction.
- Seek legal counsel if you’re unsure about any aspect of the eviction process in regards to the current moratorium in your area. While everything might seem in place, having this extra support to ensure you’re doing everything by the book and that you’re not evicting a tenant when they do have protections will help you navigate the process with greater ease.
The California Eviction Moratorium Has Expired, But Protections Still Exist
The most important thing for landlords and tenants need to know walking away from this article is that, while the statewide eviction moratorium has lifted, many cities and counties are working to keep tenants protected moving forward. Additionally, certain conditions may have been satisfied by the tenant offering them protection from retroactive repercussions of not being able to pay rent during the initial stages of the pandemic.
As long as both landlords and tenants understand the statewide moratorium, the new moratoriums being adopted throughout the state, and the processes required for tenants to leverage this protection (or for landlords to legally evict tenants), moving forward should be a more seamless process.