With the passage of the new statewide eviction moratorium - the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (AB 3088) - Californians across the state are all scrambling to understand what the law means for them. This is a critical period for California where tens of thousands of people are at risk of homelessness if they are not properly informed of their rights as tenants. 

In order to address this, UWCA is working with a number of legal aid and tenants rights groups on a newly launched text “RentSOS to 211-211” campaign. This will help tenants understand what steps they need to take to stay housed and access resources to support them.

We strongly encourage you to use and refer people seeking updated information to text "RentSOS" to 211-211. Once individuals text "RentSOS"to 211-211, they will: 

We will continue to consult with legal aid experts and the State Administration on the content to ensure timely and accurate information.

The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (Tenant Relief Act)

There are thousands of questions being asked of the newly passed, Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (AB 3088). Below you will find the most commonly asked questions:

What is the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (Tenant Relief Act)?

The Tenant Relief Act is a statewide law that imposes a temporary moratorium between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021 on evictions of qualifying residential tenants for failure to pay rent because of financial distress related to COVID-19.

How are California tenants protected by the Tenant Relief Act?

COVID-19 Rental Debt from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020

Subject to certain exceptions, if a tenant has experienced COVID-19-related financial distress and has not been able to pay part or all of the rent to their landlord between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020, the tenant cannot be evicted for failure to pay rent so long as they sign and return a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress (Declaration) to the landlord within 15 days of receiving a Declaration form from the landlord. 

COVID-19 Rental Debt from September 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021

Subject to certain exceptions, if a tenant has experienced COVID-19-related financial distress and has not been able to pay part or all of the rent to their landlord between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, the tenant cannot be evicted for failure to pay rent so long as they sign and return a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress (Declaration) to the landlord within 15 days of receiving a Declaration form from the landlord, AND, on or before January 31, 2021, the tenant pays at least 25% of each rental payment that was due, or will be due, between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021. 

What does "COVID-19-related financial distress" mean?

Under the Tenant Relief Act, "COVID-19-related financial distress" means ANY of following:

    1. Loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    2. Increased out-of-pocket expenses directly related to performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    3. Increased expenses directly related to the health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    4. Childcare responsibilities or responsibilities to care for an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic that limit a tenant’s ability to earn income.
    5. Increased costs for childcare or attending to an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    6. Other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic that have reduced a tenant’s income or increased a tenant’s expenses.

What is "COVID-19 Rental Debt"?

COVID-19 Rental Debt is unpaid rent or any other unpaid financial obligation of a tenant under the tenancy that came due during the time period between March 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021.

Is there a requirement that a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress contain specific statements?

Yes. A Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress must include the following written statement:

I am currently unable to pay my rent or other financial obligations under the lease in full because of one or more of the following:

1. Loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Increased out-of-pocket expenses directly related to performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Increased expenses directly related to health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Childcare responsibilities or responsibilities to care for an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic that limit my ability to earn income.

5. Increased costs for childcare or attending to an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. Other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic that have reduced my income or increased my expenses.

Any public assistance, including unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment assistance, state disability insurance (SDI), or paid family leave, that I have received since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic does not fully make up for my loss of income and/or increased expenses.

Signed under penalty of perjury:

Dated:

How does a tenant calculate the 15-day time limit for the tenant to sign and return the Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress?

The 15-day time limit for the tenant to sign and return the Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress (Declaration) starts the day after the notice is personally delivered to you, and ends 15 business days later, excluding weekends and holidays.

Example: If the landlord provides the tenant with an eviction notice and a Declaration form on Tuesday, September 1, the tenant has until Wednesday, September 23 to return the signed form to the landlord. The 15-day period starts on Wednesday, September 2, and does not include any weekend days, and also does not include Labor Day.

How can the tenant deliver the signed Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress to the landlord?

The tenant may deliver the declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress to the landlord by ANY of the following methods:

  1. In person, if the landlord indicates in the notice an address at which the declaration may be delivered in person.

  2. by e-mail, if the landlord indicates an e-mail address in the notice to which the declaration may be delivered.

  3. Through U.S. mail to the address indicated by the landlord in the notice. If the landlord does not provide an address for delivery in person, then upon the mailing of the declaration by the tenant to the address provided by the landlord, the declaration is deemed received by the landlord on the date posted, if the tenant can show proof of mailing to the address provided by the landlord.

  4. Through any of the same methods that the tenant can use to deliver the payment pursuant to the notice if delivery of the declaration by that method is possible.

No matter which method tenants select to deliver their declaration, tenants should retain a copy of the declaration for their own records.

Does a tenant still owe unpaid rent even after signing and returning a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress to the landlord?

Yes. The tenant will still owe any unpaid rent to the landlord and can be sued for the money in small claims court, even if the amount of unpaid rent exceeds the $5,000 limit for small claims court cases. 

What is a “high-income tenant”?

A “high-income tenant” is a tenant with an annual household income of 130 percent of the median income, as published by the Department of Housing and Community Development in the Official State Income Limits for 2020, for the county in which the residential rental property is located. The definition of “high-income tenant” does not include a tenant with a household income of less than $100,000. 

What happens if a tenant fails to provide a signed Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress to the landlord?

If the landlord has provided the appropriate notice of demand to pay rent and an unsigned copy of the Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress, and the tenant fails to return a signed Declaration to the landlord, or fails to return it within 15 days (weekends and judicial holidays excluded), the tenant is not protected from eviction under the Tenant Relief Act for nonpayment of rent during the period of March 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021. 

What happens if a high-income tenant fails to provide documentation supporting the claim that the tenant has suffered COVID-19-related financial distress after the landlord has provided appropriate notice?

If the landlord has provided the appropriate notice of demand to pay rent, including the required "high-income tenant" language and an unsigned copy of the Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress, and the tenant fails to provide appropriate documentation together with a signed Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress, the tenant will not be protected from eviction for nonpayment of rent under the Tenant Relief Act.

Does the Tenant Relief Act protect tenants of commercial property?

No. The Tenant Relief Act only protects tenants of residential property. 

Does the Tenant Relief Act protect people who stay in hotels, motels, and similar facilities for short-term occupancy?

No. The Tenant Relief Act does not apply to hotels, motels, residence clubs, or other transient occupancy facilities subject to a transient occupancy tax, also known as a “hotel tax.”

What types of landlords are covered by the Tenant Relief Act?

Landlords covered by the Tenant Relief Act include all of the following or the agent of any of the following:

  1. An owner of residential real property.
  2. An owner of a residential rental unit.
  3. An owner of a mobilehome park.
  4. n owner of a mobilehome park space or lot. 

What mandatory notice must landlords give to all tenants protected by the Tenant Relief Act by September 30, 2020?

On or before September 30, 2020, a landlord must provide, in at least 12-point font, the following notice to tenants who, as of September 1, 2020, have not paid one or more rental payments that came due during the period March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020:

 

"NOTICE FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA: The California Legislature has enacted the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 which protects renters who have experienced COVID-19-related financial distress from being evicted for failing to make rental payments due between March 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021.
"COVID-19-related financial distress" means any of the following:

1. Loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Increased out-of-pocket expenses directly related to performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Increased expenses directly related to the health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. Childcare responsibilities or responsibilities to care for an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic that limit your ability to earn income.
5. Increased costs for childcare or attending to an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. Other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic that have reduced your income or increased your expenses.

This law gives you the following protections:
1. If you failed to make rental payments due between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020, because you had decreased income or increased expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as described above, you cannot be evicted based on this nonpayment.
2. If you are unable to pay rental payments that come due between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, because of decreased income or increased expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as described above, you cannot be evicted if you pay 25 percent of the rental payments missed during that time period on or before January 31, 2021.

You must provide, to your landlord, a declaration under penalty of perjury of your COVID-19-related financial distress attesting to the decreased income or increased expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic to be protected by the eviction limitations described above. Before your landlord can seek to evict you for failing to make a payment that came due between March 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, your landlord will be required to give you a 15-day notice that informs you of the amounts owed and includes a blank declaration form you can use to comply with this requirement.

If your landlord has proof of income on file which indicates that your household makes at least 130 percent of the median income for the county where the rental property is located, as published by the Department of Housing and Community Development in the Official State Income Limits for 2020, your landlord may also require you to provide documentation which shows that you have experienced a decrease in income or increase in expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Your landlord must tell you in the 15-day notice whether your landlord is requiring that documentation. Any form of objectively verifiable documentation that demonstrates the financial impact you have experienced is sufficient, including a letter from your employer, an unemployment insurance record, or medical bills, and may be provided to satisfy the documentation requirement.

It is very important you do not ignore a 15-day notice to pay rent or quit or a notice to perform covenants or quit from your landlord. If you are served with a 15-day notice and do not provide the declaration form to your landlord before the 15-day notice expires, you could be evicted. You could also be evicted beginning February 1, 2021, if you owe rental payments due between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, and you do not pay an amount equal to at least 25 percent of the payments missed for that time period.
For information about legal resources that may be available to you, visit lawhelpca.org." 

The above notice may be provided to tenants in the same manner as an eviction notice, or may be sent by mail.

Can a landlord evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent that was due during the period between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020?

If the landlord has given the tenant an eviction notice, and a form for a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress (Declaration), the tenant cannot be evicted as long as the tenant signs and returns the Declaration to the landlord within 15 days. 

If the landlord has given the tenant an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020, but the landlord fails to provide the notice required by the Tenant Relief Act, or fails to provide a Declaration form with the eviction notice, the eviction notice will be deemed insufficient and an unlawful detainer case brought by the landlord may be dismissed by the court. 

If the tenant fails to return a signed Declaration within 15 days (weekends holidays excluded) the landlord may file an unlawful detainer action against the tenant.

Can a landlord evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent that was due during the period between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021?

If the landlord has given the tenant an eviction notice, and a form for a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress (Declaration), the tenant cannot be evicted as long as the tenant signs and returns the Declaration to the landlord within 15 days. 

If the landlord has given the tenant an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, but the landlord fails to provide the notice required by the Tenant Relief Act, or fails to provide a Declaration form with the eviction notice, the eviction notice will be deemed insufficient and an unlawful detainer case brought by the landlord may be dismissed by the court. 

If the tenant fails to return a signed Declaration within 15 days (weekends holidays excluded) the landlord may file an unlawful detainer action against the tenant.

If the landlord has given the required notice demanding payment of rent, setting forth the amount of rent due and the date each amount became due, and the tenant fails to pay, on or before January 31, 2021, an amount that equals at least 25% of each rental payment that came due or will come due during the period between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, the landlord may file an unlawful detainer action against the tenant.

What are the requirements for a landlord to give notice to a tenant demanding the payment of rent that came due during the period from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020?

First, a landlord cannot give notice to a tenant demanding the payment of rent that came due during the period from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, before the landlord has provided the notice required to be provided on or before September 30, 2020. (See above). The notice demanding payment of rent and the notice required to be provided on or before September 30, 2020, may be provided to the tenant at the same time. 

If the notice demands payment of rent that came due during the period from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, the notice must comply with the following:

  1. The time period in which the tenant may pay the amount due or deliver possession of the property must be no shorter than 15 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and other judicial holidays (holidays on which the court is closed).

  2. The notice must set forth the amount of rent demanded and the date each amount became due.

  3. The notice must advise the tenant that the tenant cannot be evicted for failure to comply with the notice if the tenant delivers a signed declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress to the landlord on or before the date that the notice to pay rent or quit or notice to perform covenants or quit expires.

  4. The notice must include the following text in at least 12-point font:

    "NOTICE FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA: If you are unable to pay the amount demanded in this notice, and have decreased income or increased expenses due to COVID-19, your landlord will not be able to evict you for this missed payment if you sign and deliver the declaration form included with your notice to your landlord within 15 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and other judicial holidays, but you will still owe this money to your landlord. If you do not sign and deliver the declaration within this time period, you may lose the eviction protections available to you. You must return this form to be protected. You should keep a copy or picture of the signed form for your records.
    You will still owe this money to your landlord and can be sued for the money, but you cannot be evicted from your home if you comply with these requirements. You should keep careful track of what you have paid and any amount you still owe to protect your rights and avoid future disputes. Failure to respond to this notice may result in an unlawful detainer action (eviction) being filed against you.
    For information about legal resources that may be available to you, visit lawhelpca.org."

  5. The notice must be accompanied by an unsigned copy of a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress that contains the following statement:

    I am currently unable to pay my rent or other financial obligations under the lease in full because of one or more of the following:

    1. Loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    2. Increased out-of-pocket expenses directly related to performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    3. Increased expenses directly related to health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    4. Childcare responsibilities or responsibilities to care for an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic that limit my ability to earn income.

    5. Increased costs for childcare or attending to an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    6. Other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic that have reduced my income or increased my expenses.

    Any public assistance, including unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment assistance, state disability insurance (SDI), or paid family leave, that I have received since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic does not fully make up for my loss of income and/or increased expenses.

    Signed under penalty of perjury:
    Dated:

What are the requirements for a landlord to give notice to a tenant demanding the payment of rent that came due during the period from September 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021?

First, a landlord cannot give notice to a tenant demanding the payment of rent that came due during the period from September 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021, before the landlord has provided the notice required to be provided on or before September 30, 2020. (See above). The notice demanding payment of rent and the notice required to be provided on or before September 30, 2020, may be provided to the tenant at the same time. [Tenant Relief Act, Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1179.04(c)(1) and (2).]

If the notice demands payment of rent that came due during the period from September 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021, the notice must comply with the following:

  1. The time period in which the tenant may pay the amount due or deliver possession of the property must be no shorter than 15 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and other judicial holidays (holidays on which the court is closed).

  2. The notice must set forth the amount of rent demanded and the date each amount became due.

  3. The notice must advise the tenant that the tenant will not be evicted for failure to comply with the notice, if the tenant delivers a signed declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress to the landlord on or before the date the notice to pay rent or quit or notice to perform covenants or quit expires.

  4. The notice must include the following text in at least 12-point font:
    "NOTICE FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA: If you are unable to pay the amount demanded in this notice, and have decreased income or increased expenses due to COVID-19, you may sign and deliver the declaration form included with your notice to your landlord within 15 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and other judicial holidays, and your landlord will not be able to evict you for this missed payment so long as you make the minimum payment (see below). You will still owe this money to your landlord. You should keep a copy or picture of the signed form for your records.
    If you provide the declaration form to your landlord as described above AND, on or before January 31, 2021, you pay an amount that equals at least 25 percent of each rental payment that came due or will come due during the period between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, that you were unable to pay as a result of decreased income or increased expenses due to COVID-19, your landlord cannot evict you. Your landlord may require you to submit a new declaration form for each rental payment that you do not pay that comes due between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021.
    For example, if you provided a declaration form to your landlord regarding your decreased income or increased expenses due to COVID-19 that prevented you from making your rental payment in September and October of 2020, your landlord could not evict you if, on or before January 31, 2021, you made a payment equal to 25 percent of September’s and October's rental payment (i.e., half a month’s rent). If you were unable to pay any of the rental payments that came due between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, and you provided your landlord with the declarations in response to each 15-day notice your landlord sent to you during that time period, your landlord could not evict you if, on or before January 31, 2021, you paid your landlord an amount equal to 25 percent of all the rental payments due from September through January (i.e., one and a quarter month’s rent).
    You will still owe the full amount of the rent to your landlord, but you cannot be evicted from your home if you comply with these requirements. You should keep careful track of what you have paid and any amount you still owe to protect your rights and avoid future disputes. Failure to respond to this notice may result in an unlawful detainer action (eviction) being filed against you. For information about legal resources that may be available to you, visit lawhelpca.org."

  5. The notice must be accompanied by an unsigned copy of a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress that contains the following statement:

    I am currently unable to pay my rent or other financial obligations under the lease in full because of one or more of the following:
    1. Loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    2. Increased out-of-pocket expenses directly related to performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    3. Increased expenses directly related to health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    4. Childcare responsibilities or responsibilities to care for an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic that limit my ability to earn income.
    5. Increased costs for childcare or attending to an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    6. Other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic that have reduced my income or increased my expenses.
    Any public assistance, including unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment assistance, state disability insurance (SDI), or paid family leave, that I have received since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic does not fully make up for my loss of income and/or increased expenses.

    Signed under penalty of perjury:
    Dated:


Is the landlord required to provide a translated version of the Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress?

Yes, if the landlord was required to provide a translation of the rental contract or agreement in the language in which the contract or agreement was negotiated, the landlord must also provide the unsigned copy of the declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress to the tenant in the language in which the contract or agreement was negotiated. 

Can a landlord require a high-income tenant to provide documentation supporting the tenant’s claim that the tenant has suffered COVID-19-related financial distress?

Yes, but only if, first, the landlord has proof of the tenant’s income in the landlord’s possession before serving a notice demanding payment of rent that includes the “high-income” notice language. Second, the landlord has served the appropriate notice to the high-income tenant demanding the payment of rent that came due during the period from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, or during the period from September 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021, together with an unsigned copy of the Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress. And third, the landlord has also included the following language on the notice demanding the payment of rent in at least 12-point font:

"Proof of income on file with your landlord indicates that your household makes at least 130 percent of the median income for the county where the rental property is located, as published by the Department of Housing and Community Development in the Official State Income Limits for 2020. As a result, if you claim that you are unable to pay the amount demanded by this notice because you have suffered COVID-19-related financial distress, you are required to submit to your landlord documentation supporting your claim together with the completed declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress provided with this notice. If you fail to submit this documentation together with your declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress, and you do not either pay the amount demanded in this notice or deliver possession of the premises back to your landlord as required by this notice, you will not be covered by the eviction protections enacted by the California Legislature as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and your landlord can begin eviction proceedings against you as soon as this 15-day notice expires." 

If the landlord has served the appropriate notice and an unsigned copy of the Declaration, the landlord may require a high-income tenant to provide objectively verifiable documentation that demonstrates the COVID-19-related financial distress the tenant has experienced. Such documentation includes any of the following:

  1.  

    Proof of income based on any of the following:
    1. A tax return.
    2. A W-2.
    3. A written statement from a tenant’s employer that specifies the tenant’s income.
    4. Pay stubs.
    5. Documentation showing regular distributions from a trust, annuity, 401k, pension, or other financial instrument.
    6. Documentation of court-ordered payments, including, but not limited to, spousal support or child support.
    7. Documentation from a government agency showing receipt of public assistance benefits, including, but not limited to, social security, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, or paid family leave.

     

  2. A letter from an employer.

  3. An unemployment insurance record. 

What if a tenant has failed to pay part or all of the rent payments prior to March 1, 2020 or after January 31, 2021 (i.e., periods not covered by the Tenant Relief Act)?

If the tenant has failed to pay part or all of rent that was due prior to March 1, 2020, or after January 31, 2020, the tenant is not protected by the Tenant Relief Act and the landlord may proceed with an eviction notice and/or unlawful detainer action.

I am a tenant who has failed to pay part or all of my rent between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021 due to financial distress caused by or related to COVID-19, what do I need to provide my landlord to avoid being evicted? Do I need to provide evidence of my financial distress?

You will need to sign and date a Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress under penalty of perjury and return it to your landlord within 15 days from the date your landlord gives you a notice demanding payment of rent and an unsigned Declaration form. The 15-day time limit to return the Declaration does not include weekends or holidays. (See above regarding how to calculate the 15-day time limit). Other than the Declaration, you do not need to provide evidence of your financial distress unless you are a high-income tenant and the landlord gives you the notice intended for high-income tenants, which asks the high-income tenant to provide the landlord with documentation of the tenant’s financial distress.

I am a tenant who has failed to pay part or all of my rent between September 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021 due to financial distress caused by or related to COVID-19, do I need to pay any of my rent before February 1, 2021 in order to receive the protections of the Tenant Relief Act and avoid eviction for my non-payment of rent? How much of my rent must I pay? When must I make my payment(s)?

If your landlord gives you the required notice demanding payment of rent and a form Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress, you must pay an amount that equals at least 25% of each rental payment that came due or will come due during the period between September 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021, that you were unable to pay as a result of decreased income or increased expenses due to COVID-19. You must also sign and date the Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress and return it to the landlord within 15 days (weekends and holidays excluded). You will have until January 31, 2020 to pay your landlord an amount equal to 25 percent of all the rental payments due from September 2020 through January 2021. If you comply with these requirements, your landlord cannot evict you.

I am a landlord who has a tenant that failed to pay part or all of his/her rent between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021, can I recover the unpaid rent from my tenant?

Yes. If the tenant provided you with a signed Declaration of COVD-19-related financial distress, and the tenant has not paid all of the rent, you have the option to file on or after March 1, 2021 an action in small claims court to recover the unpaid rent, even if the amount of unpaid rent exceeds $5,000. 

I am a landlord who has a tenant that poses a public health and safety threat to other tenants, does the Tenant Relief Act prevent me from evicting that tenant?

The Tenant Relief Act does not prevent a landlord from filing an unlawful detainer action to evict a tenant who poses a public health and/or safety threat to other tenants, but the landlord cannot use the allegation of a public health and/or safety threat as a pretext for evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent.

The county or city I live in already has an eviction moratorium in effect. Which rules do I follow?

Sometimes a rental unit will be covered by more than one moratorium against evictions. For instance, a rental unit may be subject to two or three different moratoriums, such as a local municipality’s moratorium, the State of California's moratorium, and/or the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control’s moratorium. In cases where two or more moratoriums apply, the moratorium offering the greatest protections to the tenant typically will apply. In California, that means the moratorium adopted by the local municipality or State of California because both typically offer greater protections for tenants than the federal government’s moratorium. For additional guidance, landlords and tenants should contact an attorney, legal aid society, landlord association, or tenant advocacy group. A list of local and statewide resources are available at https://landlordtenant.dre.ca.gov/.

I am a tenant who has failed to pay some of my rent since March 2020, where do I go for help to understand what I should do next?

Tenants who have questions or need assistance about their legal options if they are unable to pay rent should contact an attorney, legal aid society or tenant advocacy group. A list of local and statewide resources are available at https://landlordtenant.dre.ca.gov/resources/tenant.html.