AB 3088: “COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020” and “COVID-19 Small Landlord and Homeowner Relief Act of 2020”

On August 31, 2020, Governor Newsom passed into law Assembly Bill 3088 which created the “COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020” and the “COVID-19 Small Landlord and Homeowner Relief Act of 2020.”

COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (Code of Civil Procedure 1179.01 et seq):

Under the Tenant Relief Act, landlords are prohibited from evicting a residential tenant and mobilehome tenant prior to February 1, 2021 for any unpaid rent accruing between March 4, 2020 – August 31, 2020 (based on COVID-19 hardship), as long as the tenant provides a declaration of hardship, signed under penalty of perjury, to the landlord within 15 days of receipt of a “15 Day Notice” from the landlord (*note that in calculating this 15 day period, weekends and holidays are excluded).  If the tenant fails to provide this declaration of hardship to the the landlord within the 15 day period of the Notice, the landlord may proceed with eviction after October 5, 2020. Any tenants with household income over $100,000/year or over 130% of median income must provide supplemental documentation of financial hardship to the landlord in addition to the declaration of hardship form in order to take advantage of these eviction protections. 

For all unpaid rent accruing prior to Sept 1, 2020, landlords must now serve all tenants with a written notice of this new law in accordance with Civil Procedure Section 1179.04 no later than September 30, 2020

To recover unpaid rent, landlords must also send a 15 Day Notice in accordance with CCP 1179.03 and provide the tenant with a blank declaration of hardship form. (see link to forms below)

It is important to note that tenants are still responsible for paying all unpaid rental amounts to landlords by February 1, 2021, so this new law does not forgive the payment of rent in any way, it just provides an extension for repayment and temporary protection from eviction.  Landlords may seek repayment of the debt starting on March 1, 2021, and have the option to sue the tenant in small claims court to recover the unpaid rental amounts, even if such amounts are in excess of the $10,000 small claims court cap.  Any landlord who tries to evict a tenant in violation of this new law could face increased penalties. 

If a tenant is unable to pay rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship for rent due between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants are required to provide a declaration of hardship within the 15 day period, and pay at least 25% of the rent due to the landlord for that period by January 31, 2021 to avoid eviction. If the tenants pay this 25% of the rent due, landlords cannot serve a 3 day pay or quit notice on the tenant or proceed with eviction due to the non-payment. (Note that this 25% is not required to be paid monthly. It’s only required to be paid by Jan 31, 2021 which would be a lump sum).

Starting on September 2, 2020, a landlord may file an unlawful detainer action for any reason other than non-payment of rent, provided the landlord complies with AB 1482 rent control regulations if the property is not exempt.

Note that this Act does not apply to commercial tenants, only residential.

Landlords can find PDF versions of all the new notice forms here.

Tenant Declaration of hardship form can be found here.

Here’s the list of the new notices:

  1. Notice (unpaid rent prior to Aug 31, 2020).  Must be sent to ALL TENANTS by Sept. 30, 2020 who haven’t paid rent prior to Aug 31, 2020 alerting them to this new law.
  1. 15 Day Notice (unpaid rent prior to Aug 31, 2020).  Must be sent to all tenants who have not paid rent between March 2020 – Aug 2020. The 15 day notice must be served like a 3 day notice and MUST INCLUDE A DECLARATION OF HARDSHIP FORM .
  1. 15 Day Notice (unpaid rent after Sept 1, 2020). Must be sent to all tenants who do not pay rent Sept 1. forward.  The 15 day notice must be served like a 3 day notice and MUST INCLUDE A DECLARATION OF HARDSHIP FORM .
  1. Declaration of Hardship.  MUST be attached to any 15 day notice. If tenants return this signed form to you as the landlord within the 15 day period of the notice (the 15 days do NOT include weekends or holidays so be careful of that) then you cannot evict due to non payment.  If the tenants do NOT send you the signed declaration in the 15 day period, you CAN start the eviction process as of October 5, 2020.  *NOTE that no additional financial documents are required to be provided by the tenant, only this declaration of hardship signed under penalty of perjury.
  1. Notice (high income individuals).  MUST be served with DECLARTION OF HARDSHIP FORM and 15 DAY NOTICE on any household that landlord knows makes over $100k/yr. The tenant must provide additional documentation to support financial hardship (ie bank statements, employment termination etc.) in addition to the declaration form within the 15 days

COVID-19 Small Landlord and Homeowner Relief Act of 2020 (Civil Code Section 3272.01 et seq):

This legislation extends anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights to small landlords (who own 1-4 units that are non-owner occupied) if the landlord is an individual, the tenant moved in prior to March 4, 2020, and the tenant fails to pay rent due to loss of income due to COVID hardship.  It also provides new accountability and transparency provisions to protect small landlord borrowers who request CARES-compliant forbearance, and provides the borrower who is materially harmed the ability to file a lawsuit.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is specific to the laws of the State of California. For more information on this article please contact attorney Ashley Peterson.