September 1, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an emergency bill late Monday night to protect renters burdened by the coronavirus pandemic from eviction through January 2021 as long as they pay 25% of their rent during that period. The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, or AB 3088, legislation prohibits the eviction of renters with genuine COVID-related hardships but reopens the unlawful-detainer process for tenants who cause problems at the property.
The bill was signed into law shortly after passing the Assembly on a vote of 61-8 with 10 abstentions. Earlier on Monday, the bill cleared the Senate on a 33-2 vote with five abstentions. The law took effect immediately.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) lobbied hard with the governor’s office and leaders in the Senate and Assembly in the days leading up to the bill being passed. The multifamily trade group believes AB 3088 offers a less-burdensome alternative to AB 1436, the “free rent” bill that CAA adamantly opposed.
CAA’s Debra Carlton notes the legislation passed provides a stopgap but that more needs to be done to help both landlords and tenants. “To truly address this crisis, the federal government needs to step up,” she says. “COVID-impacted renters need financial assistance, from the feds, so they can pay their rent. Otherwise, renters will be hard-pressed to pay the rent that’s accumulated, and housing providers will go out of business.”
Under AB 3088, landlords can again proceed with eviction cases against tenants who cause problems at the property, such as by causing nuisances or threatening their neighbors. Rental property owners haven’t had this tool since the Judicial Council imposed its eviction moratorium on April 6. The bill also will allow owners to terminate the tenancies of renters who have the wherewithal to pay rent but refuse to do so.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser