City and County of San Diego COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium

On March 16, 2020, California Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20 as updated on March 27, 2020 Executive Order N-37-20. This Order suspended any provision of state law that would preempt or otherwise restrict a local government from imposing limitations on residential and commercial evictions on the basis of non-payment of rent due to financial hardship from a substantial decrease in household or business income, or due to substantial out of pocket medical expenses caused by COVID-19 to May 31, 2020. **This statewide eviction moratorium date has now been extended through September 30, 2020 per Executive Order N-71-20. This Executive Order effectively put the burden on individual cities to enact their own emergency ordinances to temporarily restrict evictions during the time frame of the order. This means that landlords will be required to carefully review the applicable county or city ordinance for each location in which they own property in order to determine how to proceed with regards to tenant evictions, since every county and city ordinance could be slightly different. If a particular city or county has not enacted such an ordinance, the State mandate will control.


UPDATE: As of June 30, 2020, the City of San Diego has extended the eviction moratorium through September 30, 2020 per Resolution No. 313127

On March 25, 2020, the City of San Diego passed emergency Ordinance Number 21177 which implemented a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions due to non-payment of rent arising out of a substantial decrease in income or substantial out of pocket medical expenses due to the Corona Virus.  In the City of San Diego, if a tenant provides written (email, text, or letter) notice to the landlord on or after March 12, 2020 stating that they cannot pay rent due to substantial financial impacts directly related to COVID-19 (ie/ loss of job, business closure, loss of wages, loss of job, etc.), the landlord cannot evict that tenant, send 3 day pay or quit notices, or charge late fees between March 12, 2020 through May 31, 2020 (*Extended to September 30, 2020). Under the ordinance, the tenant is required to provide documentation to the landlord to prove they are unable to pay rent due to financial impacts of COVID -19 within one week of sending the notice that they can’t pay. Documentation the tenant can provide includes any of the following: (i) employer termination notice, (ii) payroll checks, (iii) pay stubs, (iv) bank statements, (iv) medical bills, (v) signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining tenant’s changed financial circumstances, (vi) or gross sales statements or certified profit/loss statements for commercial tenants. If the tenant fails to provide this evidence to the landlord within this 7 day period, the landlord is permitted to move forward with evicting the tenant if they do not pay rent when due. If however, a tenant timely complies with the written notice and documentation requirements of the ordinance, the tenant shall have until December 30, 2020, or the date the tenant vacates, whichever is sooner, to pay back the unpaid rent due from March – September to the landlord. 


UPDATE: As of June 1, 2020, the County of San Diego has extended their eviction moratorium until June 30, 2020 per Resolution No. 20-027

On March 24, 2020, the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Diego passed a Resolution also temporarily halting all commercial and residential evictions in the unincorporated areas of the County. If the tenant provides written notice to the landlord within 15 days of the date rent is due (starting on or after March 4, 2020) or by April 8, whichever is later, that the tenant is experiencing financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 and cannot pay rent, the tenant cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent through May 31, 2020 (*Extended to June 30, 2020). The tenant then has 14 days from the date of the notice to provide documentation to the landlord in support of the tenant’s financial hardship situation. If the tenant fails to provide supporting documentation in this 14 day period, the landlord can proceed with eviction due to non-payment of rent. A tenant who timely provides the information above is given up to 3 months (from July 1, 2020) to repay the deferred rent. The County grants the tenant the right to submit an additional request with supporting documentation to the landlord, for a one month extension on repayment. This means the tenant would get up to 4 months from July 1, 2020 to repay the deferred rent and the landlord would be required to permit this extension. Any extension request beyond the 4 month repayment period is up to the landlord’s discretion. The landlord cannot charge late fees from March 4, 2020 through June 30, 2020.

It is important to point out that the monthly rent due by the tenant is NOT WAIVED under either ordinance, it is just deferred. This means the commercial and residential tenant is still responsible for payment of rent during this time, but the landlord is just restricted from being able to evict for such non-payment during the period of the ordinance.  It would be wise for landlords to keep open lines of communication with their tenants to discuss repayment plan options for deferred or partial rent, and to enter into written lease amendments for any agreed upon re-payment plan to contractually lay out the dates for repayment.


The San Diego Superior Court is currently not issuing a summons for any new unlawful detainer complaints filed in San Diego County during California’s State of Emergency issued by Governor Newsom, or for a period of 90 days after such emergency order is lifted. This means that landlords hands are tied in that they cannot evict tenants for ANY reason (whether due to non-payment of rent arising before or after COVID, or otherwise), EXCEPT in the case of an immediate threat to health and safety. Additionally the San Diego County Sheriffs are not performing any lock outs during the state of emergency, except in the situations where a writ of possession is issued by the court on an ex parte basis due to immediate threat to health and safety.

Other Cities in the County of San Diego that have enacted eviction moratoriums which are not addressed in this article:

City of Chula Vista – Enacted 3/17/2020 **Extended through June 30, 2020

City of Encinitas – Enacted 4/2/2020 *Extended through July 28, 2020 per Gov Order

City of Oceanside – Enacted 3/26/2020

City of La Mesa – Enacted 3/17/2020

City of National City – Enacted 4/7/2020

This article is specific to the laws of the State of California and is intended for informational purposes only. This articles does not constitute legal advice.  For specific questions related to this article please contact attorney Ashley M. Peterson.  

Comments 20

  1. The city of Oceanside needs to extend this, just as San Diego city did. We are hurting! In my apartment complex alone, more than 50% cannot pay right now. We are in need of some help!

  2. My father is 93 yrs old depends on the money from rents to pay for his assisted living facility. He has always kept his rents low and been agreeable to having late payments. I have a deadbeat who hasn’t payed but this is not the problem. Our problem is the house was fully renovated and he has trashed it. several thousands of dollars are now trashed. motor home on the lawn in the rear yard plus a car! boxes and boxes of trash piled up! Neighbors complaining to me to get rid of him. But I can’t because of Newsome.

  3. I’m not seeing on this site any updated information indicating what the status of the Covid eviction moratorium is as of now (August 31, 2020). I heard things on the news about a Presidential Order for nationwide application/extension of such a moratorium for the duration of the pandemic, but I’ve seen no clear, updated information to be relied on. Can you PLEASE email me ASAP to let me know what the status of the eviction moratorium is now? (I might NEED this information in the days to come).

    1. Post

      Hi Richard. Please see my most recent blog post from today on AB 3088, the new legislation enacted statewide regarding protections from evictions and protections from foreclosures due to COVID 19.

  4. Under UPDATE ON EVICTIONS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY: it states you can not evict
    for ANY reason except for health and safety. Does this also mean
    a month to month cannot be terminated for reasons of removing property
    from rental market/selling or an owner/immediate relative moving in as
    stated in AB3088 under no fault just cause?

    1. Post

      You can terminate a lease for just cause reasons, but must comply with AB 1482 rent control laws, and any local rent control laws in doing so. If the termination notice is properly drafted and served, you can move forward with the eviction if the tenant doesn’t leave.

      1. I am a commercial tenant and I own a yoga studio. We were closed from March until Sept 1st and now can only operate at 10% which is 2-3 people inside the studio.
        The landlord did give us a reduction on rent for a few months which was very nice but now requiring full rent again. We also have to pay 1/2 of the utilities as they are shared with another unit but we are not using the space. We requested to not have to pay them. We asked to be let out of our lease which is a huge loss for us as we have allot invested in the space. The landlord will not let us out of our lease. Is there any protection for commercial tenants? It sounds like it is only residential tenants that are protected. Thank you for your time.

        1. Post

          Hi Daphinne. I’m sorry to hear your business is struggling. I have so many clients in the same boat unfortunately. The new CA COVID eviction laws are only related to residential tenancies, not commercial which is a bummer. Feel free to give me a call and we can discuss some of your lease options going forward. 619-222-7300.

    1. Post
  5. I am a business tenant in a commercial property in San Marcos. We have been served with an unlawful detainer and responded in the five day response period. Nothing since (over 1 week) concerning a trial date. Questions that I can’t get any response from the court are:
    1. Rent is overdue due to covid reasons. Is this likely to affect trial date and outcome?
    2. What is the expected date for trials for unlawful detainer, commercial, filed in late Nov. 2020?
    3. In the event of an unfavorable outcome for us, what is the expected time we would have legally and realistically before the Sheriff enforces an eviction order?

    1. Post

      Hi John. Unfortunately the new CA COVID eviction laws are only related to residential tenancies, not commercial. That means commercial tenants can be evicted for non-payment despite covid hardship. I am unable to tell you what the timelines are for trial scheduling but you can assume the courts are very backlogged after being shut down for so long, so there will be delays in all trials being scheduled. If the sheriff actually enforces the lock out, it would be at a minimum probably 2-3 weeks after the judgment is entered by the court. I’m sorry your business is struggling and wish I had better news.

  6. A part of June 2020 deposit was never made. We did move in. We have paid some rent. Now the landlord is suing for eviction saying it is not a covid case since it does not involved rents…We owe a part of deposit and a couple of months of rent. Can he sue on the deposit provision only and bypass covid-19 protections.

    1. Post

      Hello Tom. I believe I am missing some additional information to be able to answer your question. A security deposit is unrelated to COVID eviction restrictions regarding non payment of rent, so I am unable to advise you without further explanation.

  7. San Diego County Landlord Here..
    Upon a Tenant Not paying rent, our situation would be that of a Tenant Portion not paid either by A Section 8 Tenant Portion, or even by A Non Section 8 Tenant. Covid would not be the cause nor out of work because of covid. Our Tenants that have the potential to not pay rent…are based on the theory that, “well everyone else is getting away with it..I will too.”
    In the case of no proff of covid related…will the court hear these unlawful detainers?

  8. I have a small home here in San Diego that is rented to tenant. I have a job relocation to Texas and need to sell my rental house. I have found a buyer for the home and plan on going into a 60 day escrow. Can I evict or require my tenant to leave? I’m not sure I understand the current rules where it says a tenant can’t be evicted for any reason. I have to sell my home and the new owners want to move in at the end of escrow. Thoughts?

  9. Hello- I live in La Mesa and received a lease termination notice to vacate- 30 days. No reason given. Is this legal?

  10. To be a a little more clear, I am on a month to month lease. I was handed a notice by a friend of the landlord. No cause provided, no warning, no nada. There was no signed proof of service. I know things are always changing with the law. I had one legal aid that suggested that his notice may not be valid right now.

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