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California’s Eviction Wave: The Race Against the Clock

After several months of relying on the Judicial Council of California’s Emergency Order, the California Legislature was met with the harsh reality that beginning September 1, 2020, the Court would allow evictions to proceed. With the deadline set, the Legislature is forced to act.

Assembly Bill 1436, authored by Assembly member David Chiu (D-San Francisco), is an effort to provide the relief that many California residents rely upon to avoid the quickly approaching eviction wave. AB 1436, as drafted, would ban evictions for missing rent across California. On August 18, 2020, the Legislature passed the first hurdle in providing tenants with a temporary life preserver. The bill is closer to final passage after it passed through the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill is set for a full senate hearing next week, while millions of Californians face the threat of evictions or foreclosure.

If enacted, AB 1436 would halt evictions for nonpayment of rent due to pandemic-related hardships until the sooner of: 1) 90 days after the current state of emergency is lifted; or 2) through April 2021. The Bill would also provide additional mortgage forbearance, resulting in delayed payments for landlords and homeowners alike.

What remains to be seen is the impact of the economy as a whole. Assuming the Bill is adopted as drafted, there will be the inevitable application. For example, the courts are going to again be called upon to make a determination as to what constitutes a “pandemic-related hardship.” Further, what protections will be afforded to the landlords in the event a tenant is unable to repay the arrears? Will the foreclosure upon the landlord who was unable to make mortgage payments result in the eviction of the tenants that were occupying the building? What government bail-outs will be required and who will they ultimately protect? How will this impact businesses? What will happen to the real estate market?

There are still many issues that need to be decided, and decided quickly. The clock is ticking and the eviction wave is about to crash on California. If you are looking for a life-preserver, contact the Law Offices of Neil J. Cacali to discuss your options.