• Patrick Tira

San Diego Enacts Moratorium on Evictions

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

The San Diego City Council recently enacted an ordinance creating a temporary moratorium on evictions due to the nonpayment of rent for residential and commercial tenants impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

As you may recall, on March 16, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20 which allows local governments to place limits on certain residential and commercial evictions.

A copy of San Diego's emergency ordinance may be found here.

San Diego's emergency ordinance prevents landlords from taking action to evict a tenant for not timely paying rent that was due on or after March 12, 2020, if the tenant provided written notice (including text and email communications) to the landlord, on or before the date the rent was due, that the tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.

Notably, the tenant must provide the landlord with documentation or objectively verifiable information that the tenant is unable to pay rent due to the financial impacts related to COVID-19, within one week of providing his or her initial notice.

Landlords may not charge or collect late fees, serve notices, or bring an action to obtain possession of the property (i.e., an action for eviction or unlawful detainer) against tenants who comply with the ordinance. The ordinance provides tenants with an affirmative defense to an unlawful detainer action.

The ordinance provides tenants with up to six months to pay all unpaid rent. At the end of this six month period, a landlord may evict a tenant who has not paid all outstanding rent and resort to all remedies available to the landlord under the lease and the law.

The ordinance will remain in effect until either the local emergency is terminated or Governor Newsom's Executive Order N-28-20 expires (currently in effect through May 31, 2020).

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