What Happens After September 30th, 2021?

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What Happens After September 30th, 2021?

Categories: Homes Property Management Real Estate

Published 09/29/2021

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The state legislature adjourned this month without extending its eviction moratorium and the terms of AB 832. So, barring any extraordinary effort on either the governor or lawmakers, the state moratorium should, therefore, finally lapse on September 30, 2021.

Beginning October 1, 2021, and continuing through March 2022, California will enter into the "COVID-19 Rental Housing Recovery Act."

What this means in Alameda County

Nothing at all! For some of you, September 30, 2021, will be the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel." But for those with rentals in Alameda County, the end of California's moratorium will have absolutely no effect, and properties will remain mired in local "emergency" ordinances, which still effectively prohibit ALL evictions indefinitely. Laws in both Oakland and Alameda County will only expire 60 days after the local emergency ends. Our honest assessment is that regular evictions will not be allowed in Alameda County until 2022 at the earliest. Only cases involving an "imminent threat to health and safety," post-foreclosure, forcible detainer, and at-will tenancies may move forward for the time being. Please reach out to us if these issues relate to your tenancy.

What this Means Everywhere Else

Quite a bit! As promised in the last update, the days of simply serving a notice to pay or quit and quickly navigating an unlawful detainer have become a thing of the past, at least until April 2022, when these new laws expire.

For Non Payment of Rent: 15-Day Notices for Rent through September 2021: Rent that became due during the "covered" period between September 2020 and September 2021 will still require service of a 15-Day Notice to Pay or Quit, together with a blank Declaration of COVID-19 Financial Distress. If the tenant returns the declaration and pays at least 25% of the full rent owed within 13 months by September 30, 2021 — evictions cannot be filed, and the unpaid rent must be sought in a collection action beginning in November. Our office has been very successful in filing cases where the tenant did not comply and return the required declaration — and there remains every reason to serve these notices, even if you think the tenant will comply.

Three-Day Notices Starting October 1, 2021: Beginning in October, any unpaid rent can be sought by way of a Three-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. These notices will not be the same as in the past, and additional language informing the tenant of the rental assistance program will be required.

These differing laws for differing months may very well require two separate notices served at the same time.

The requirement to Seek Rental Assistance: Any action seeking to evict for a failure to pay rent will also require the landlord to attest and prove that they have engaged in the rental assistance program. Unlawful Detainer Complaints will include a mandatory statement from the landlord stating that he or she has either;

  • Applied for assistance, but the application was denied; or
  • Applied for assistance, 20 days passed, and the tenant did not cooperate.

Before any summons can be issued in a UD, the housing provider will need to verify four facts under penalty of perjury:

  • The landlord submitted a completed application for rental assistance;
  • Twenty days have passed since the application was filed or the date of the three-day notice, whichever is later;
  • The landlord has not received notice from the agency showing that the resident has submitted their application;
  • The landlord has received no communication from the resident that the resident has applied for the assistance, or;
  • The landlord submitted a completed application for rental assistance;
  • The application was denied. Attaching a copy of the final decision denying the application.

The Tenant Gets a Second Chance: After being served with the summons and complaint, the tenant may still file a Declaration of COVID-19 Financial Distress. The case can get dismissed if the court finds that the tenant failed to return it earlier because of "mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect" and has paid at least 25% of the rent within 5-days.

Before any judgment can enter, either by default or after trial, yet another Mandatory Verification will need to be completed stating (Click here for a copy of this):

  • Assistance corresponding to the amount demanded in the notice has not been received;
  • Assistance for rent accruing after the date of the notice has not been received;
  • There is no pending application for rental assistance for the amount demanded in the notice;
  • There is no pending application for rental assistance for rent accruing after the date of the notice.

And Yet Another Chance is Given: Any time before the eviction, the tenant may ask the court to prevent any further process if a governmental agency has approved an application for part or all of the rent. These laws only apply to tenancies that began before October 1, 2021. Any tenancies beginning after October 1, 2021, are not entitled to any of these COVID protections.

For Other Actions: October 1 will see the removal of "just cause" requirements for ordinarily-exempt properties. Units that were previously not subject to statewide just cause requirements (single-family homes, units built less than 15 years ago, a duplex with a unit used by the owner, housing where the owner shares living area) are once again exempt and "no cause" terminations may again be initiated. With that being said, whether or not you need to provide "just cause" on your 30 or 60-day notice, it is still a good idea to denote it anyway.

What is the Message? What is Takeaway?

Be prepared! Even if you are one of the unlucky ones with no present ability to evict for failure to pay rent, all landlords should be:

  • Proactive in seeking rental assistance
  • Communicating with tenants
  • Properly accounting for payments to correct months
  • Serving notices to tenants informing them of their rights and responsibilities, including the need to apply for rental assistance
  • Serving "Notice(s) to Cease" for lease violations

When filing cases in the future, it will be incumbent upon you to have good records for all of these. So take this opportunity to get all of your documents in order. For more information before filing any UD, please visit https://housing.ca.gov. Also, keep records showing that you have complied with it.

If anything changes in the next two weeks, we'll keep you informed. But for now, this is how we expect the law to progress. We'd like to give a special thanks to Alan Horwitz, Attorney at Law, for sharing this information with us!

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Effective August 3, 2021, all visitors to our office are required to wear a face-covering over mouth and nose by the order of Alameda County Health Officer Order 21-03. Those who do not comply with this requirement will be refused entry.
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