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Assembly Bill 3088: Tenants May Get Temporary Relief while property owners are left in the cold.

Following up on my prior post concerning Assembly Bill 1436, California has rolled back some of the provisions in the newly announced Assembly Bill 3088, known officially as the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020. Landlords are hailing AB 3088 as a “more sensible approach,” while tenant groups and Assemblymember David Chiu believe the bill did not go far enough.

The vote to approve the bill will come on Monday, August 31, 2020, the last day of the legislative session.

The summary of AB 3088 is as follows:

– If you missed a rent payment between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020, tenants cannot be evicted for missing this payment. However, the tenant will be liable to repay this debt. Alternatively, landlords can take tenants to small claims court or file a civil complaint for breach of contract.

– Missed payments between September 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021 will require the tenant to pay 1/4 of the obligation owed during that period, or they may be evicted. The remaining 75% may be converted to a civil liability, which may result in a small claims action or a civil complaint for breach of contract.

– For any new non-payments, Landlords are required to provide additional time to pay. Instead of the 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit, the landlords will need to post a 15-Day Notice. The service of this notice may then allow the tenant additional protections related to a pandemic-hardship.

– Landlords may have the right to request proof of a pandemic-related financial hardship in certain, limited situations.

– Once the eviction moratoria expire in the city or county, the respective city or county will not have the right to extend the evictions.

– The courts can begin processing evictions beginning October 5, 2020, which is an additional month. However, being short-staffed, there may be significant delay.

– Property owners were not provided any relief. The pressure from the banking industry resulted in the mortgage forbearance being removed from the bill.