Newsom partly suspends CA residential evictions

Tenants need documentation of financial woes to avoid losing rentals

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a partial statewide suspension of residential evictions Friday after previously leaving the coronavirus crisis response measure up to city and county governments.

Newsom’s three-page executive order halts residential evictions until May 31 if a tenant cannot pay rent either due to health care costs or a loss of income related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Also, a tenant planning to not pay rent must provide proof to their landlords of “changed financial circumstances” such as, “termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from a supervisor.”

The order has no effect on eviction notices that landlords already issued up through today, nor does it stop landlords from tossing tenants who cannot document changed financial circumstances due to the coronavirus.

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Newsom’s order comes after the governor issued an executive measure last week deferring action on evictions to local governments including the city of Los Angeles, which put its own moratorium on coronavirus-related evictions.

The governor’s order does give local governments prerogative to keep a non-paying tenant quarantined in their existing home as a public health measure.

Newsom’s order — which freezes evictions through May 31 — comes at the urging of both tenant right’s groups and a landlord lobbying group. Thomas Bannon, executive director of the California Apartment Association, told The Real Deal earlier this week that the group is urging its members to suspend any evictions.

If evictions are handed out, it is not clear how they may be enforced. The state of California has closed its courts for civil trials and most other non-criminal matters through the end of May.

Newsom’s order does not address commercial properties. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, however, has suspended some commercial evictions.