SB 91 extends California’s eviction moratorium until July 1, 2021

By Octavio Velarde on February 12, 2021

On January 29, 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 91.

SB 91 does a couple of things. But perhaps most importantly to tenants, it extends the eviction moratorium to July 1, 2021. Previously, the eviction moratorium ended on February 1, 2021.

First, a quick recap on California’s eviction moratorium. Under the eviction moratorium, any landlord found to have violated the eviction moratorium is be liable for “additional damages in an amount of at least $1,000, but not more than $2,500,” so long as the tenant can show they provided a declaration of COVID-19 financial distress. SB 91 extends these damages to July 1, 2021 as well.

Additionally, August 1, 2021, is the now the earliest a landlord can bring a claim in court against a tenant for rental debt accrued during the pandemic period. This debt is known as “COVID-19 rental debt.” Previously, landlords could bring claims for COVID-19 rental debt starting March 1, 2021.

SB 91 extends California’s eviction moratorium until July 1, 2021

Landlords must still bring all claims for unpaid COVID-19 rental debt in small claims.

Under SB 91, California will also cover 80% of tenants’ incurred COVID-19 rental debt so long as the landlord forgives the remaining 20% and does not pursue an eviction. Thus, under SB 91, a plaintiff who seeks recovery of COVID-19 rental must provide documentation that it “made a good faith effort to investigate whether governmental rental assistance is available to the tenant, seek governmental rental assistance for the tenant, or cooperate with the tenant’s efforts to obtain rental assistance from any governmental entity or other third party, as provided.” (Senate Bill 91, Chapter 2.)

SB 91 also continues to mask (that means conceal from the public) court records that show an eviction action based on failure to pay rent filed between March 4, 2020 and July 1, 2021-the COVID-19 rental debt period. Previously, the period was March 4, 2020 to February 1, 2021. This way, your credit report won’t take a hit.

The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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