Originally posted to Unfamiliar Terrain
In recent days, the federal government, the state of California, and many local governments have taken action to provide tenant and homeowner protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 18, President Trump announced a suspension of foreclosures and evictions by the Department of Housing and Urban Development through April 30. The moratorium will apply only to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.
Also on March 18, the Federal Housing Finance Agency directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.
At the state level, on March 16, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20 prohibiting rent hike evictions, authorizing local governments to implement further protections against evictions, delaying foreclosures by mortgage lenders, and monitoring customer service protections delivered by utility providers. Unless extended, the protections under the order are in effect until May 31, 2020 and are intended to address the challenges for many Californians to pay rent, mortgages, and utility bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A summary of protections included in the order is as follows:
The order contemplates that a quarantine or similar public health measure could also prohibit an eviction if it compels an individual to remain physically present in a particular residential property.
The order does not relieve a tenant from its obligation to pay rent, nor does it restrict a landlord’s ability to recover rent.
On March 17, 2020, the CPUC confirmed that, retroactive to March 4, 2020, utility companies under CPUC’s jurisdiction (including PG&E, AT&T and Comcast) will not be allowed to suspend service for customers who cannot pay their bills during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
Cities in California that have moved to impose temporary moratoriums on evictions include San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Diego, Santa Barbara, South Pasadena, and Suisun.
The situation and responses are evolving quickly, and other local jurisdictions are considering similar controls. The Governor’s Office may also provide additional guidance on this issue. We will continue to monitor these developments.