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Contra Costa County Superior Courts Are Closed Through April 30, 2020; No Unlawful Detainer Evictions May Be Filed

The Contra Costa County Superior Court issued another press release extending the courts’ closures through April 30, 2020.  During this time, they will be accepting some filings beginning April 6, 2020, including restraining orders.  However, they will NOT accept unlawful detainer eviction filings during this time.  This means that landlords cannot file any new unlawful detainer cases until after April 30, 2020.

Concord City Council Approved Very Limited Eviction Ordinance through May 31

On March 25, 2020, Concord City Council approved an extremely limited ordinance on evictions.  The ordinance prevents landlords from evicting residential or commercial tenants for nonpayment of rent or utilities, if those tenants’ incomes are reduced due to the coronavirus.  Importantly, this is NOT a complete moratorium on evictions.

In order for tenants to have this protection, they must qualify as someone whose income has been reduced by coronavirus.  This could be because of job loss, reduction in hours, or having to take care of a child out of school or a sick family member.  The tenant must provide a written notice to the landlord at least seven days before rent is due that they cannot pay.  They must inform the landlord that they cannot pay rent due to a coronavirus-related reduction in income.  The ordinance lists who can qualify for the protection.  (Note, this will be impossible for most residents who may not be able to pay their April rent.  Most landlords require rent on April 1, and the ordinance was just passed last week.)

Then, within three days of when the rent is due, the tenant must provide evidence that their income was reduced at least 20% due to coronavirus.  Tenants still are responsible to pay their rent.  However, they have a 90-day repayment window for each month in arrears, beginning with the first day following the lifting of the moratorium.  Tenants under the ordinance also do not have to pay late fees or other penalties for nonpayment of rent.  Finally, tenants under the ordinance who are directly affected by coronavirus cannot have their rent increased during this time.

Governor Newsom’s March 27 Executive Order Regarding Tenants Who Cannot Pay Due to Coronavirus

On March 27, 2020, Governor Gavin Newson issued an additional executive order with limited protections for tenants who cannot pay rent due to coronavirus.  This order does not prevent landlords from filing evictions or from giving three-day notices for nonpayment of rent.  Instead, for tenants who qualify if they have missed rent due coronavirus-related reasons, they have more time to respond to the eviction.  However, they still may have to file an answer within five days.   This analysis from the Western Center for Law and Poverty explains the limits of this executive order.

Still have questions?  Call an attorney.

Contra Costa Senior Legal Services is still available for phone advice for seniors over 60 years old who live in Contra Costa County.  For other tenants, call Bay Area Legal Aid’s legal advice line at 1-800-551-5554.