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Santa Monica Extends Its Temporary Eviction Moratorium to July 31, 2020
June 17, 2020 7:21 PM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Today, the City of Santa Monica issued a revised supplemental emergency order that extends the City’s eviction moratorium for residential tenants to July 31, 2020. The moratorium covers nonpayment of rent and certain other evictions. The repayment period for residential tenants remains unchanged at twelve months from the time the moratorium ends.
The revised supplemental emergency order also extends the City’s eviction moratorium for certain commercial tenants to July 31, 2020, narrowing its focus to small businesses most in need of protection. A number of businesses, including publicly traded companies and businesses with more than 100 employees, are no longer covered under the moratorium.
For commercial tenants, the level of protection depends on the kind of business. The supplement defines three categories of commercial tenant: Commercial Tenant 1, Commercial Tenant 2, and Commercial Tenant 3. A definition for each is available at santamonica.gov/coronavirus-eviction-moratorium. A Commercial Tenant 3, which includes publicly traded companies and businesses with more than 100 employees, will receive no protections as of June 30, 2020.
Here are the protections offered to the other two categories of commercial tenants:
Commercial Tenant 1
For nonpayment, eviction protections are very similar to those for residential tenants. A Commercial Tenant 1 must provide notice and documentation and cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent that became due between March 18, 2020 and July 31, 2020 due to financial impacts related to COVID-19 until June 30, 2021. If rent is paid by June 30, 2021 a landlord may not charge late fees or penalties. If rent is paid by October 31, 2020, a landlord may not charge or collect interest.
Notice and documentation requirement
Eligible commercial tenants must provide notice and documentation within 30- days after rent is due. What notice and documentation is required depends on the type of Commercial Tenant 1.
For “substantially limited businesses”,”—those most affected by the pandemic, as defined in section 14(b)(i) of the revised order—notice and documentation that indicates any loss of income or increase in expenses due to COVID-19 is sufficient. A statement written by the tenant in a single communication may constitute both notice and documentation. If the tenant has received compensation for financial impacts related to COVID-19 through business interruption insurance or federal or state government relief funds or other programs that provide such compensation, the notice and documentation must state the compensation received and explain why it does not enable the tenant to pay rent.
Any other commercial tenant 1 must provide the following:
- Notice asserting that the tenant has suffered financial impacts related to COVID-19 that have resulted in a substantial loss of income or substantial increase in expenses that has materially negatively affected its ability to pay rent; and
- Supporting documentation sufficient to demonstrate that the loss of income or increase in expenses:
- (A) is related to COVID-19; and
- (B) has a material negative effect on the tenant’s ability to pay rent.
Supporting documentation may include, but is not limited to, a profit and loss statement, a letter from an accountant, or a written explanation setting out an objectively verifiable explanation of the financial impacts the tenant is experiencing.
If the tenant has received compensation for financial impacts related to COVID-19 through business interruption insurance or federal or state government relief funds or other programs that provide such compensation, the notice and documentation must state the compensation received, which will be considered when determining whether the tenant has experienced a substantial loss of income or substantial increase in expenses that has materially negatively affected its ability to pay rent.
Commercial Tenant 2
A Commercial Tenant 2 must provide notice and documentation that indicates a loss of income or increase in expenses due to COID-19; if this notice and documentation is provided, the tenant cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent that became due between March 18, 2020 and July 31, 2020 due to financial impacts related to COVID-19 until August 31, 2020. As of September 1, 2020, all protections for Commercial Tenants 2 are phased out and they are no longer covered by the moratorium. If rent is paid by August 31, 2020, or any extended date, a landlord may not charge or collect a late fee, penalty, or interest.
A form that can be used by residential 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. Residential tenants 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. Twelve months after the current expiration date is July 31, 2021.
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.