By: Tamara B. Pow Esq.,
If you own residential rental property, you are most likely dealing with tenants who are financially impacted by the shelter-in-place orders or who have incurred significant medical costs due to COVID-19. The State of California and many cities and counties have issued various orders and ordinances that prevent landlords from evicting tenants for failure to pay rent and from enforcing late fees, and some jurisdictions prohibit even no fault just cause evictions. Generally, in order to be covered by a rent or eviction moratorium the tenant must demonstrate a substantial loss of income or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses due to COVID-19. However, even if not covered by a moratorium, local courts in Santa Clara County have said they will not even be processing unlawful detainer actions until September.
The California Association of Realtors (“CAR”) has prepared several useful documents for owners and landlords of residential property during this difficult time. Some of the available forms include:
- Notice of Unforeseen Coronavirus Circumstance – This form is for landlords or tenants to give notice to the other if either party is affected by COVID-19, such as a government shelter-in-place order, loss of income, or hospitalization due to COVID-19. The parties can execute an addendum or amendment providing that the lease can be mutually terminated if either party suffers from an Unforeseen Coronavirus Circumstance.
- Notice to Tenant of Ability to Pay Rent – Governmental orders protecting tenants usually require the tenant to notify the landlord if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to a COVID-19 related event. This form notifies the tenant about the general requirements under the eviction moratoria.
- Coronavirus Lease/Rental Property Entry Advisory and Declaration – Prospective purchasers/tenants may want to view or inspect the property prior to purchase or lease. This form advises the current tenant and entrants onto the property about the risks of COVID-19 and steps that should be taken to mitigate exposure.
- Coronavirus Rent Payment Delay and Repayment Agreement – If a tenant is unable to pay rent due to COVID-19, this form provides a framework for deferral/reduction/abatement of rent and a repayment plan after the moratoria are lifted.
As a licensed real estate broker (license number 01860035), I subscribe to the CAR forms library and can provide these and other Covid relevant documents for my clients’ use. You may also be able to get them from your realtor. If you do give any concessions to your tenants, you should consider getting an estoppel certificate or a release of claims in exchange.
All blogs on this site are for educational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice or opinion, and should not be applied to your situation, or any specific situation, without consultation with counsel. Strategy Law, LLP does not provide any legal advice concerning any matter discussed in a blog except upon formal engagement including, without limitation, execution of Strategy Law, LLP’s formal legal services agreement, and with respect to specific factual situations. No blog constitutes a guaranty, warranty, or prediction regarding the result of any legal matter discussed in the blog or any representation.
Tamara Pow is a business and real estate transactional attorney at Strategy Law, LLP. She represents landlords and tenants throughout California and practices in San Jose, California.
This information is provided as of May 20, 2020 and is subject to change after such date.