What Owners Need To Know About The San Diego COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium
On March 25, 2020, the City Council adopted an emergency ordinance (O-21177) creating a temporary loophole for residential and commercial tenants to stop paying rent.
Tenants have the burden of requesting and providing proof of a COVID-19 related hardship.
What this means to you: If your tenant takes certain steps, you cannot take action to evict your tenant for not timely paying rent that was due on or after March 12, 2020. You cant even issue pay quit notices for rent due after March 12, 2020, if your tenant qualifies.
Who Qualifies? Renters who are unable to pay rent due to financial impacts caused by COVID-19 who take affirmative action to notify you of the hardship AND provide verifiable proof.
The ordinance defines “financial impact” as a substantial decrease in household income due to business closure, loss of hours, wages, layoffs, or hospitalization related to COVID-19. A financial impact is “related to” COVID-19 if it is caused by the pandemic itself or any governmental response.
This explicitly includes federal, state or local ordered shutdowns of non-essential businesses such as restaurants, breweries, gyms, etc.
“Substantial decrease in income” has not yet been defined. The City Manager is required to define “substantial decrease in income” but as of March 28, 2020 has not yet done so. The City Manager does not have the authority to define the substantial loss of income to exceed a 30% reduction.
Rent is NOT Forgiven. Despite what you may have heard on the news or through social medial, rent is NOT forgiven by the new order. If your tenant qualifies for deferment, she will have six months from March 25, 2020 OR by the time Governor Newsom withdraws the stay at home order, whichever is sooner to pay back the deferred rent. Also, if your tenant vacates prior to six months or Newsom’s withdrawal of the order, the deferred rent becomes immediately due.
What is required of your tenant?
(1) Tenant must notify you in writing (including email, text, letter) on or before the date rent is due that she is unable to pay because of COVID-19. Let me repeat… the tenant must take affirmative action to notify you by written notice ON OR BEFORE the date rent is due. April rent will be due for most renters before April 3.
(2) Within one week of sending you notice, your tenant must provide “verifiable” documentation that she is unable to pay rent because of COVID-19. Such documentation may include a lay off notice, reduced paystub, unemployment eligibility notice, store closure notice, or other documentation supporting a loss of income.
If the tenant does not provide proof of financial impact, you WILL be able to proceed with the eviction (as soon as the court reopens).
If your tenant takes these steps, you cannot do any of the following:
a) charge or collect any late fees for rent,
b) serve a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit
c) file/prosecute unlawful detainer (eviction) against your tenant.
This order will be in effect until May 31, 2020, unless extended. If you are a residential or commercial landlord concerned about eviction, please contact our office.