“For a more detailed explanation of this new law, please see the Western Center on Law and Poverty’s summary or review the law itself, published by the California Judicial Council.”
More information on the Judicial Council rule change can be found at the Western Center on Law & Poverty. For property owners, the rule change also bars any court in California from issuing judgments or decisions in foreclosure cases.
At its meeting on April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council adopted an emergency court rule that effectively stops all evictions, other than those necessary to protect public health and safety, for the duration of the COVID‐19 emergency. The rule is applicable to all courts and to all eviction cases, whether they are based on a tenant’s missed rent payment or another reason. This new court rule will apply until 90 day after the Governor lifts the state of emergency related to the COVID‐19 pandemic, or until it is amended or repealed by the Judicial Council. The rule:
In addition, the Judicial Council adopted an emergency rule related to judicial foreclosures. This rule also applies until 90 days after the Governor lifts the COVID‐19 state of emergency. The rule:
Note that this rule does not impact non‐judicial foreclosures, which comprise the vast majority of foreclosures in California. Non‐judicial foreclosure sales are conducted by private parties outside the courthouse and are not affected by these new emergency rules.
While these emergency rules effectively put evictions and judicial foreclosures on hold at least through the summer, they do not establish any new tenant rights or defenses to an eviction, address requirements for notifying landlords or providing documentation when tenants are unable to pay rent due to loss of income or other COVID‐19 related reasons, or address how repayment will be handled. These are all issues that would be difficult for the courts to take on, or that they don’t have the authority to address. We expect that the Legislature will address these issues with urgency when it returns in May.
“This gets us the breathing room” for tenants that “we really need,” said Sasha Harnden, policy advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
“We need leadership,” said Madeline Howard, a senior attorney for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “We need the governor to step in and do a real moratorium, because this is happening, people are being kicked out when they’re being told to shelter-in-place.”
“This is the type of action we really need to give tenants comfort that they are not at any risk,” said Sasha Harnden, a policy advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “This gets us the breathing room.”
“We are extremely relieved that the Judicial Council has shown the type of leadership we need to make sure that basic, straightforward protections are in place, reducing any immediate risk to tenants and allowing them to focus on protecting their health and safety without worrying about losing their homes at a time when they are being told to shelter in place to avoid the spread of a highly contagious and deadly virus,” stated Western Center on Law & Poverty, a tenant rights group.”
“Meaning that landlords can still file an eviction case but the tenant’s ticking timebomb of losing their home if they do get to the courthouse and file papers within five days is now put on pause,” said Sasha Harnden, who is a policy advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty.”
“Sasha Harnden, housing policy advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said the council’s ruling is an important step.
“This is the type of straightforward, broad protection that we have been wanting to see from our leaders to give people comfort while we address the massive economic impacts of this crisis,” he said.”
Today, the Judicial Council, the head of California Courts, issued new rules for court cases in California during COVID-19. The new rules include protections for tenants that will achieve the priorities expressed by the Governor’s March 27th Executive Order, which state that a public health crisis is not the time to proceed with evictions. The rules suspend tenants’ obligation to quickly file a response to eviction cases, state that no default judgments for eviction will be issued against tenants during shelter-in-place, and suspend all orders to appear in court for eviction cases. Our summary of the rule on evictions and foreclosures can be found here.
This effectively suspends most evictions during the Covid-19 State of Emergency.
These rules issued by the Judicial Council are imperative for maintaining public health; the health of court workers, defendants, tenants, landlords, and the rest of the public rests on a maximum number of people possible staying in their homes, per Governor Newsom’s March 20th stay-at home order. Tenants must maintain housing at this time.
The leadership shown by the Judicial Council recognizes the impact of California law in real life, and ensures that the intention of orders from the Governor play out appropriately for people on the ground.