Statewide eviction and foreclosure ban could end Aug. 14

California chief judge’s comments send lawmakers scrambling to extend measure

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (UCDavis, iStock)
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (UCDavis, iStock)

Ready or not, California is poised to end its historic ban on evictions and foreclosures, a possibility that has lawmakers rushing to extend the measure.

Remarks released this week by California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye indicate that the temporary ban could be lifted as soon as Aug. 14, when the state Judicial Council will vote again.

In April, the Judicial Council ruled that California courts would not process orders related to commercial and residential evictions and foreclosures. Now, Cantil-Sakuye said the matter should turn to the legislature “for permanent measures and permanent solutions.”

The judge said the court has “always known that the remedies we sought for all the affected parties are best left to the legislative and executive branches of government.” She added that the legislature must address the issue “to protect people from devastating effects of this pandemic and its recent resurgence.”

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Residential property owners and renters alike have voiced concern about the timing of the upcoming Judicial Council vote, noting that the recently expired $600-a-week federal unemployment benefit boosted rent collections. Still, about one in three residents across the state could not pay all or part of their rent in July, the California Apartment Association estimated, according to ABC7 News.

California landlords largely oppose the eviction ban, and have filed lawsuits against the state to overturn the court ruling. Landlords represented by the libertarian-leaning Pacific Legal Foundation, calls the eviction freeze a “classic policy decision” that rests with the state legislature.

But lawmakers have not not acted on the ban, and instead have deferred to other government branches. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued dozens of executive orders related to the pandemic, including a pact for landlords to renegotiate mortgages with participating banks.

The Judicial Council order has not completely ended evictions. The Los Angeles Tenants Unions is documenting instances of landlords who try to carry out evictions absent court approval, which has led to dramatic confrontations between landlords and tenant organizers.