On March 16, 2020 and March 27, 2020, Governor Newsom issued two executive orders: 1) Executive Order N-28-20; and 2) Executive Order N-37-20 ("State-Moratorium").
The most significant provision of Executive Order N-28-20 as it applies to landlord/tenant issues was to allow local governments to use their police power to provide substantive limitations on residential and commercial evictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This Order was extended in late-May to allow local governments to continue to provide limitations on evictions until the end of July.
The most significant provision of Executive Order N-37-20 as it applies to landlord/tenant issues was a statewide extension of 60 days on the time to respond to an eviction complaint, assuming the tenant can meet certain requirements, including notifying the landlord within 7 days of the rent being due of a negative impact resulting from the pandemic.
Following these Executive Orders, many Counties and Cities throughout California began adopting their own Eviction Moratoriums. This has left landlords and tenants confused as to which moratorium(s) they have to abide by. The Short answer is: all of them.
When the State Government enacts laws, such laws take precedence over local laws. Meaning, if the State Law precludes local regulation of an issue or the Local Law is conflict with the State Law, then the Local Law will be invalidated. The same occurs when the County issues a law, such law takes precedence over laws enacted by the City. As stated above, the law enacted by the City can be invalided if the State/County law precludes it or if it is in direct conflict with the State/County law. For all laws enacted, not just the moratoriums, citizens must abide by the City, County and State.
In this instance, the Executive Orders permit local governments to enact their own Eviction Moratoriums, so long as the local moratoriums do not conflict with the State orders. Some Counties in California have adopted their own moratoriums. These County moratoriums may provide more protections to tenants than the State rules. Similarly, cities may enact their own moratoriums, so long as the City’s moratoriums do not conflict with the County’s moratoriums and provide additional protections for the tenants.
If a City moratorium does not provide more protection for tenants, then landlords and tenants shall follow the County moratorium, if one exists, or the State orders if there are no County rules. The same occurs when a County moratorium does not provide more protections for tenants than the State orders, then landlords and tenants shall follow the State orders.
If the local moratorium, either City or County, provides more protection for tenants than the State moratoriums, then the landlords and tenant shall follow the local moratorium. However, this is not all-encompassing rule as each aspect of the various moratoriums must be considered.
With the various moratoriums adopted throughout this unprecedented time, it is important that landlords and tenants stay up to date with the new emergency laws passed by their City and County governments, as well as review all moratoriums adopted.
This website will detail many of these rules.