April 30, 2020 1:00 PM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – On April 30, 2020, the City of Santa Monica issued a revised supplemental emergency order that extends the City’s eviction moratorium to June 30, 2020. The supplemental order also extends from six to twelve months the time for tenants to pay rent they were unable to pay because of financial impacts related to COVID-19. This action comes in response to lingering uncertainties in public health projections that require people to remain at home; an increasing number of workers who have suddenly lost their jobs and are seeking unemployment benefits; and instabilities in housing and general economic forecasts due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The revised order updates the eviction moratorium in several ways, including:
- It extends the end date for the moratorium from May 31 to June 30, 2020.
- It extends from six to twelve months the time for residential tenants to pay rents that were unpaid during the moratorium period due to financial impacts related to COVID-19. During this 12-month period, landlords may not evict tenants for nonpayment of the unpaid rent.
- It continues to provide eviction protection to most commercial tenants who are unable to pay due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, but excludes from these protections multi-national companies, publicly traded companies, and companies that employ more than 500 employees.
- It clarifies that when a tenant provides the landlord with written notice and documentation of the tenant’s inability to pay rent, and indicates any loss of income or increase in expenses due to COVID-19, that is sufficient; and that a statement written by the tenant in a single communication may constitute both notice and documentation.
- It requires landlords who have not already provided tenants with notice of the eviction moratorium to provide tenants with notice using updated language.
- It recognizes that while a landlord and tenant may enter into a payment plan for payment of delayed rent, the landlord may not require a tenant to enter into a payment plan. With or without a payment plan, the order requires that residential tenants have up to twelve months after the moratorium ends to pay any rent that was unpaid due to financial impacts related to COVID-19 during the moratorium.
- It prohibits a landlord from deceiving a tenant in connection with their rights and obligations under the eviction moratorium.
- It automatically voids any provision in a rental agreement, payment plan, or any other agreement between a landlord and tenant that waives or modifies any rights under the eviction moratorium.
“The City is constantly monitoring the emergency situation and updating our local orders to provide the most sensible and meaningful response,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg, the City’s Director of Emergency Services. “The extensions of the moratorium period and the time to pay the unpaid rents, are intended to provide some relief to our residents and small businesses, restaurants, stores and offices, in light of the uncertainties we face as to when the safe-at-home orders will be lifted, and when we can all go back to work.”
The basic framework of the eviction moratorium remains unchanged: residential and commercial tenants are protected from evictions based on nonpayment of rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19. However, tenants must notify their landlords in writing, of their inability to pay rent due to COVID-19 and its impacts and provide supporting documentation.
A form that can be used by tenants to provide the required notice of their inability to pay rent due to COVID-19 is available here. The tenant must provide this notice and supporting documentation as soon as possible, preferably before rent is due, but no later than 30 days after rent is due. A tenant is still obligated to pay a landlord back rent for all rent that is owed during the moratorium period. A tenant may not be evicted for nonpayment of rent (due to impacts of COVID-19) unless the tenant fails to pay the unpaid rents within twelve months of the expiration of the City’s moratorium order.
For questions about the City’s eviction moratorium, please visit santamonica.gov/coronavirus, or call the City’s Coronavirus Hotline at (310) 458-8400. For help in completing the tenant notice form or if you would like to file a complaint regarding eviction activity in violation of the order, please contact the Public Rights Division of the City Attorney’s Office at (310) 458-8336, or Consumer.Mailbox@smgov.net.
Communications & Public Information Manager