California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an Executive Order that authorizes local governments to halt residential and commercial evictions, slows foreclosures, and protects against utility shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone will have to make sacrifices,” during the virus outbreak, the Governor said in a press release. “But a place to live shouldn’t be one of them.”
Notably, the order does not relieve a tenant from the obligation to pay rent or restrict a landlord’s ability to recover rent due. The protections are in effect through May 31, 2020, but could be extended. The order also requests banks and other financial institutions to halt foreclosures and related evictions during that time.
“Any provision of state law that would preempt or otherwise restrict a local government’s exercise of its police power to impose substantive limitations on residential or commercial evictions…is hereby suspended,” during the designated period, the Executive Order reads.
It also states that, “Financial institutions holding home or commercial mortgages, including banks, credit unions, government-sponsored enterprises, and institutional investors, are requested to institute an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and related evictions,” if the would-be foreclosure or eviction arises out of “substantial” tenant expenses related to the coronavirus and government response.
In related developments, Los Angeles County Superior Court locations are closed Tuesday, March 17, through Thursday, March 19, and all Orange County Superior Court locations are closed through March 27.
Other states are expected to follow suit in providing eviction relief. Ballard Spahr is monitoring developments and will continue to report on them as they arise.
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