Mike Explains: AB-3088 (COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020)

There are more rules and regulations for landlords than ever before. At the Mike Dunfee Group, we manage several hundred properties and do a good job at staying compliant with the new rules and regulations. These rules are always changing and there is a big one in this age of COVID that all California landlords should be aware of: 

On August 31st, 2020, the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (enacted by AB-3088) was passed by the California Legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Here is what you need to know about this bill: 

The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (CTRA) enacts new protections from evictions for all residents, including prohibitions on evicting residents who have failed to make specified rental payments (provided that certain requirements are met).

Prior to September 30th, 2020, landlords who have a tenant who did not pay rent that was due between March 1st, 2020, and August 31st, 2020, must provide notice to such tenants about AB-3088 and its protections for tenants using statutorily prescribed language.

This time-period is called “The Protection Period.” The “protection” in question is protection from eviction for non-payment of rents during that time; this is not a “protection” from paying the amount of rent owed. 

Following the “Protection Period” there will be a “Transition Period” from September 1st, 2020 to January 31st, 2021. During this time, tenants who fail to pay rent because COVID-19 hardships must pay at least 25% of the cumulative rent due during this period AND provide landlords with a declaration of “COVID-19 Related Financial Distress” to avoid eviction. 

Tenants are signing this document under the penalty of perjury - not just because they do not feel like paying rent. There are multiple sources to find this form including The California Association of Realtors and The Apartment Association. During this time, you must serve tenants with a fifteen-day notice to pay or quit (increased from the typical three day notice to pay or quit because of AB-3088). Please note that these fifteen days are business days. 

Tenants have up until January 31st to pay 25% of rent due. However, beginning on February 1st, 2020, tenants who fail to pay the 25% of the rent due between September 1st, 2020, and January 31st, 2021, can be evicted. 

From March 1st, 2021 to February 1st, 2025, landlords may file for recovery of COVID-19 related unpaid rent in small claims court even if the amount demanded exceeds the small claim limits.  

Now, if you are a landlord with a tenant that has not paid their rent you need to be particularly carful that you are following these new COVID-19 rules.  Even if you have a property manager, you will want to reach out and make sure that they are aware of and complaint to the new provisions of AB-3088. Additionally, if you are considering pursuing an eviction it is in your best interest to consult an eviction attorney early in the process.

There is more to AB-3088 than we could possibly cover in this short blog and of course we are not attorneys nor are we attempting to give legal advice. Please also remember that the rules keep changing. That is why we have committed the resources to staying on top of all the new changes.  

If you’re a landlord who is trying to better understand AB-3088 or are tired of taking care of your property and want your property to start taking care of you instead, please reach out to us here at the Mike Dunfee Group. We are more than happy to talk to you and get the conversation started. 

Dunfee Real Estate Services, Inc.

DRE #02026232

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