New Protections Will Cut Down On Most, But Not All Evictions

September 4, 2020

A new state law and a federal order from the Centers for Disease Control will help protect tenants from eviction during the next few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between the two of them, any tenant in California who can’t pay rent because of the financial or health impacts of COVID-19 will be protected from evictions until at least January 31st.

But navigating the protections, which include paying a minimum of 25% of rent from now until the end of January and filing signed declarations with their landlord, will still be a lot of work for renters.

“I fear for people who are going to try this on their own,” said Greg Knoll with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, which represents tenants in housing court.

With housing courts reopening this week, landlords can now bring new eviction cases.

Social-distancing requirements mean the court is processing these slowly. But the Legal Aid Society fears that landlords, who for months haven’t received rent and have gotten little relief from the state or federal governments, will move aggressively to push out tenants.

“What we’ve been seeing lately, which I never thought that we would, is landlord attorneys who are being in my view — not all of them — unscrupulous,” said Knoll. “They’re trying to get around all protections and filing papers that are bad, and should be thrown out. And they are (thrown out) if we’re there. But we’re not always there.”

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