As the novel coronavirus designated as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world, the common advice for people to minimize their risk of exposure is to stay at home and away from as many people as possible. California Governor Gavin Newson on March 11 added bite
to the bark by banning public gatherings of more than 250 people in the state.
Mirroring what Italy has done to combat the crisis, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered on March 15 the closure of all of the city’s bars, restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment venues, and gyms until at least March 31. Restaurants that could facilitate take-out or delivery orders
are able to continue operation.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed followed suit on Monday, March 16, ordering similar “nonessential” businesses to shut down and for the city’s residents to shelter in place. While such measures are being ordered to protect the spread of a new and potentially deadly virus, those
who are unable to work from home may find themselves rapidly losing income and being able to keep up with their rent.
Moratorium on Nonpayment Evictions When COVID-19 Is to Blame
Building upon the momentum that leaders at all levels of government have generated,
Newson issued on March 16 an executive order that protects all of California’s residents from eviction due to rent nonpayment.
The key, however, is that the temporary limitation on eviction is itself restricted only to circumstances where someone is unable to pay their rent because of the novel coronavirus. In other words, someone who lost their job as a result of coronavirus-related business closures or someone who lost their ability to earn income by becoming sick (or caring for a sick relative) is temporarily protected from eviction due to delinquent rent payments.
Other Evictions Are Still Permitted
The protection from eviction is currently a narrowly focused effort to protect people who have been economically impacted by the spread of the COVID-19. Renters should be advised that they may still face legal eviction as a consequence of breaking other terms of their lease agreement unrelated to the virus.
Such reasons can include:
Expiration of a lease
Unit being taken off the market