September 19, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Broadens Eviction Moratorium as COVID-19 Count Surpasses 80

Los Angeles county announces additional 29 deaths

By Sam Catanzaro

As county health officials announce 29 additional deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Santa Monica has broadened its eviction moratorium.

On April 8 the City of Santa Monica issued a revised supplemental order, bolstering a prior eviction moratorium in response to the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which as of Wednesday has infected over 7,500 LA County residents.

On March 14, 2020, the City imposed a city-wide temporary moratorium for residential evictions for nonpayment of rent due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. Since then, the moratorium has been broadened to include commercial evictions (in addition to residential evictions), Ellis Act evictions, and no-fault evictions where a member of the household is sick, in isolation, sheltering at home, or under quarantine.

April 8’s order broadens the eviction moratorium in several ways.

A landlord may not evict a residential tenant in any no-fault eviction matters; previously this rule applied only to no-fault evictions where a member of the household is sick, in isolation, sheltering at home, or under quarantine. In addition, landlords are now barred from evicting a residential tenant based on the presence of unauthorized occupants or their pets, or nuisance related to COVID-19, unless the presence substantially endangers or impairs the public health or safety.

The City’s actions Wednesday also prohibit a landlord from evicting a residential tenant for refusing entry into a unit, unless the landlord seeks entry to repair a condition that substantially endangers or impairs the health or safety or a condition that is causing or threatening to cause substantial damage to the premises. When a landlord does enter a unit, they must ensure that social distancing, cleaning, and sanitation measures are taken.

“The City has strengthened its eviction moratorium to ensure that our community members – both tenants and businesses – can stay in their homes, restaurants, shops, and offices during this emergency period, even if they are temporarily unable to pay rent,” said City Manager Rick Cole, the City’s Director of Emergency Services. “This public health crisis will end at some point, but the financial impacts will continue to create anxieties for our residents and businesses, tenants as well as landlords. We are mindful of our duty to balance the needs of everyone, but in the end our job is to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the public, and to minimize the devastating impacts of COVID-19 to our community as a whole. This eviction moratorium will help us get through this crisis.”

In addition, the order extends the end date for the moratorium to May 31, 2020.

  • Beginning April 24 landlords must also provide tenants with notice of the City’s eviction moratorium as follows:
  • Landlords must either post notice at their property or mail (or email) notice to tenants;
  • Landlords must include notice of the moratorium when serving tenants with any notice to pay rent or quit, or other notices given to tenants as part of an eviction process;
  • Landlords must provide tenants with notice of the moratorium in the event that they file an unlawful detainer action in court; and
  • The required notice language is provided in the moratorium.

According to the City, the basic framework of the eviction moratorium remains unchanged: residential and commercial tenants are protected from evictions based on nonpayment of rent due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. Tenants must notify their landlord, however, in writing, of their inability to pay rent due to COVID-19 and its impacts, and provide supporting documentation.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) confirmed 29 new deaths and 620 new cases of COVID-19. According to Public Health, 81 of these cases are in Santa Monica. This makes the COVID-19 rate per 100,000 people in Santa Monica 87.62.

Public Health has noted that everyone should wear cloth face coverings when interacting with others while obtaining or providing essential supplies and services. Individuals should use a clean face covering anytime they will be in contact with other people who are not household members in public or private spaces.

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