Frequently Asked Questions: Landlord Issues

Updated on April 24, 2020

For more information on the rules for entering units and evictions, see C.A.R.'s Resources for Property Management and COVID-19.

Update: Governor Orders Moratorium on Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent and Halts Lock-Outs

In the last few weeks, a deluge of eviction moratoria have been enacted at nearly every level of government including city, county, state, federal and the courts. These orders generally do not supersede each other but instead stand separately. Each must be adhered to on its own terms. The only exception is that a county ordinance regarding landlord/tenant issues will not apply to a city and visa-versa.

Judicial Council Emergency Order Halts Evictions Lawsuits (April 6, 2020)

The Judicial Council of California, acting under broad authority granted by Governor Newsom, halted all eviction lawsuits, otherwise known as “unlawful detainer” lawsuits, statewide. Specifically, the Council’s emergency order:
 

  • Prohibits any summons for unlawful detainer, even if a complaint had already been filed.

  • Prohibits the entry of any default judgment, even where the tenant remains in the property.

  • Postpones all trials for 60 day from the initial date of trial. No trial may be set any earlier than 60 days after the request for a trial is made.

  • Covers both commercial and residential properties
     

The emergency order remains in effect for at least 90 days after the governor lifts the state of emergency — declared by Governor Newsom on March 4, 2020 — or until amended by the Judicial Council. Since the Governor’s order expires 60 days after its issuance, the Judicial Council order will likely be in effect through August.

The Council’s order also suspends all judicial foreclosures for the same period of time. However, judicial foreclosure actions are rare, and nearly all foreclosures take place by trustee’s sale as non-judicial foreclosures, which are not impacted by this order. Nevertheless, most foreclosures in California, judicial and nonjudicial, have been halted for the next three to four months by provisions in the CARES act and a voluntary agreement entered into by most California lenders.

 

Governor Orders Moratorium on Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent and Halts Lock-Outs (March 27, 2020)

On March 27 the Governor issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020, in residential properties. The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts. To come within the order’s protections, a tenant is required to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19. In that case, the time in which the tenant may file an answer is extended by a period of 60 days (normally, it’s five days).

 

The tenant would be required to retain documentation but not required to submit it to the landlord in advance. And the tenant would remain obligated to repay full rent in a timely manner and could still face eviction after the enforcement moratorium is lifted. The order takes effect immediately and provides immediate relief to tenants for whom rent is due on April 1st.

The Governor’s order does not prohibit the filing of an unlawful detainer. What is does is extend the time in which the tenant may file an answer by a period of 60 days.

 

CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) Imposes Eviction Moratorium for Non-payment of Rent and Prohibits the Issuance of a Notice to Vacate on All Properties Secured by a Federally Backed Loan (March 27, 2020)

The CARES Act imposes a 120-day moratorium on residential tenant eviction filings. Owners of a “covered property” may not make any filing to recover possession from a tenant for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges, and may not charge fees, penalties or other charges to the tenant related to nonpayment of rent. This nonpayment of rent is not limited to nonpayment due to a COVID-19-related circumstance. The CARES Act moratorium applies to “covered property” secured by a “federally backed” loan including both “single-family” and “multifamily” properties and will be in effect between March 27, 2020, and July 25, 2020.

 

Additionally, rental property owners may not issue a notice to vacate until after July 24, 2020. This last provision makes no reference to nonpayment of rent or any other violation of the lease. Its meaning is unclear, but it likely means that a rental property owner is not entitled to issue a notice to terminate tenancy without cause during the 120-day period.

 

Over 100 City and County Ordinances Establishing Eviction Moratoria for Non-Payment of Rent

Prior to the Governor’s order creating a statewide eviction moratorium, the Governor had issued a less sweeping order (from March 16) which merely provided a basis for a city or county to place restrictions on evictions and only when a tenant has not paid rent due to a COVID-19 related issue. These restrictions do not go into effect automatically. Each city/county must order its own restrictions. However, many cities and counties have.

 

Even though these local ordinances primarily protect residential tenants, they may cover both commercial and residential properties. Each one has to be examined specifically to see if it includes commercial properties. See our discussion below for a list of cities and counties which have such local ordinances in place.
 

Court closures and sheriffs’ non-enforcement of lock-out orders
Even before the Governor’s statewide moratorium and Judicial Council orders were issued, nearly every county in California had temporarily closed their courts or limited their hours of operations for the last weeks of March or longer. The Chief Justice also issued an order on March 20, 2020, suspending all jury trials and civil hearings. Under these orders courts are handling only limited types of matters and only on an emergency basis. The practical effect is that, even before the Governor issued the moratorium order, Unlawful Detainer actions could not be filed, or would be postponed if already filed, and default judgments were not being processed. And even if a judgement ordering possession for the landlord had been obtained, many counties were not enforcing lock-out orders (that is, a writ for possession). It is urged that you check your local courts to verify closures, hours of operation and types of cases being handled, as each court is different. 

 

Do any of these various eviction moratoria at the federal, state and local levels supersede any other?

 

In general no. Each one stands on its own and must be adhered to separately, with the exception that a county ordinance regarding landlord/tenant issues will not apply to a city and visa-versa.

Below, you will find answers to questions on:

 

The Federal CARES Act Eviction Moratorium

 

What type of eviction moratorium does the CARES Act impose?

 

Two types. First it prohibits the filing of an eviction action based on non-payment of rent for a residential dwelling. Secondly, it prohibits the issuance of a “notice to vacate,” which will likely mean that a landlord may not issue a no-fault, no-cause notice to terminate a residential tenancy. (The CARES Act is a federal law signed by the President on March 27, 2020).

 

How long is the moratorium in place?

 

For 120 days (March 27, 2020 to July 25, 2020).

 

Which properties does it apply to?

 

All properties that are secured by a federally backed loan or a loan that refinanced a federal backed loan. This will include all properties secured with FHA or VA loans or any property secured by a loan held, insured, or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. To determine whether your loan is of this type please see the FAQ “Financial Resources for Rental Housing Property Owners.”

 

These properties may include both residential 1 to 4 properties and multi-unit properties. It makes no difference whether there is an agreement with a servicer for forbearance on the loan.

 

Does the non-payment of rent have to be based on a COVID-19 related reason or circumstance?

 

No. The CARES Act is not qualified or limited in this way. It merely says that the owner will not file an eviction lawsuit based on non-payment of rent or the recovery of late fees or penalties related to non-payment of rent.

 

Is the tenant required to notify the landlord that they will be unable to pay the rent?

 

No. The CARES Act creates no requirement that the tenant notify the landlord in advance of their non-payment.

 

Can late fees be collected?

 

No. During the 120-day period the landlord of a covered dwelling may not charge fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to the tenant’s nonpayment of rent.

 

Loan Forbearance

 

Does the CARES Act require the lender or servicer to grant some type of loan forbearance?

Yes. During the covered period, a borrower with a Federally backed mortgage loan securing a 1 to 4 property experiencing a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID–19 emergency may request forbearance on the federally backed mortgage loan, regardless of delinquency status. This forbearance may be extended for up to a year. Any owner wanting a forbearance should contact the lender or servicer and request this forbearance.

 

For multi-family properties, forbearance is also available, but on different terms, including a requirement that the owner would have to agree to an eviction moratorium based on non-payment of rent. See our FAQ “Financial Resources for Rental Housing Property Owners” for further details.

 

Are there any other owner protections against foreclosure beyond the CARES Act?

 

On March 25, 2020, the Governor announced voluntary agreements between his administration and various national banks, state banks, and credit unions where the lending institutions would offer forbearance on loan payments up to 90 days if a borrower is economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. See our FAQ “Financial Resources for Rental Housing Property Owners” for further details.

 

Governor Orders Moratorium on Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent and Halts Lock-Outs (March 27, 2020)

 

Does the Governor’s order establishing a statewide moratorium on evictions halt all evictions?

 

No. It only halts those evictions based on nonpayment of rent for a COVID-19 related reason. It does not limit the right of the landlord to terminate a tenancy for any other reason. For example, a landlord would still be permitted to terminate a tenancy based on a tenant’s breach of a covenant of the lease, illegal activity on the property, or even, assuming the property is exempt from the statewide just cause eviction law and the CARES Act, terminate a month to month tenancy without cause. 

Even when the tenant has not paid rent, the Governor’s order does not technically prohibit the filing of an unlawful detainer. What is does is extend the time in which the tenant may file an answer by a period of 60 days where the tenant has complied with the other requirements of the order.

 

Does the order apply to all residential tenancies?

 

It practically does. It applies to existing tenancies in which the tenant had previously paid rent prior to March 27, 2020. The order does not apply to new tenancies.

 

Does the order apply to commercial tenancies?

 

No. It only applies to residential tenancies.

 

So, if a landlord wants to evict for a reason other than nonpayment of rent, can the landlord simply go ahead and file the eviction lawsuit based on a proper notice of termination?

 

No. The Judicial Council Order effectively freezes all unlawful detainer proceedings. And even before the Governor’s statewide moratorium order was issued, nearly every county in California had temporarily closed their courts or limited their hours of operations. Please see the introductory statement of this Q&A regarding the Judicial Council Order, court closures and sheriffs’ non-enforcement of lock-out orders.

 

The governor’s order only applies to a tenant who cannot pay the rent due to a COVID-19 related reason.  What types of COVID-19 related reasons would justify the tenant in not paying rent?

 

Examples of the types of reasons include:
 

  • The tenant couldn’t work because the tenant was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or caring for a family member who was also suspected to be sick with COVID-19.

  • The tenant was laid off, lost hours or had income reduced due to COVID-19, the statewide emergency or any related government response.

  • The tenant needed to miss work to care for a child whose school was closed in response to COVID-19.
     

This is a non-exclusive list. So any other reason where the inability to pay rent was due to COVID-19 could qualify.

 

When is the tenant required to notify the landlord in writing that they are unable to pay the rent?

 

No later than seven days after the rent is due. Within that time, the tenant must inform the landlord in writing that the tenant needs to delay all or some portion of the rent due to COVID-19 reasons.

 

Is the tenant required to provide verifiable documentation?

 

Yes. However, this documentation only needs to be provided to the landlord on or before the date the tenant actually pays the back rent.

 

What counts as verifiable documentation?

 

Termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining the tenant’s changed financial circumstances.

 

Does this mean that the landlord will be waiving the right to collect all rent?

 

No. There is nothing in the order that limits the right of the landlord to eventually collect all the rent that is due. The tenant still owes the entire amount of unpaid rent.

 

If the tenant does not pay the rent due to a COVID-19 related reduction in income, can the money be deducted from the security deposit?

 

Yes. Under most leases, including C.A.R.’s residential lease agreement, any time rent is due and not paid, it may be deducted from the security deposit. 
 

What about lock-out orders?

 

Under the governor’s order, no lock-out of a tenant can take place as long as the tenant has met the rules as described above.

 

When does this order expire?

 

The order expires after May 31, 2020.

What about the various city and county rent moratoria that have been enacted? Are they still in force or does this order supersede them?

 

They are still in force. It’s true that the Governor’s order states that it supersedes his prior order from March 16, 2020, but that’s only when there is a conflict with that prior order. The current order is intentionally quite narrow in its scope. All it really does is extend the period in which a tenant may file an answer to an Unlawful Detainer by 60 days and only when the tenant has not paid rent for a COVID-19 related reason. It makes no changes beyond that. On the other hand, the prior order was relatively broad in permitting a city or county to adopt stricter requirements pertaining to all aspects of the UD process.

 

It makes sense for the tenant to try to comply with the statewide order so that they get the benefit of it. But if they don’t, the drawback for the tenant is only that they don’t get an automatic 60-day extension on filing an answer in response to a UD complaint.

For example, if there is an local eviction moratorium ordinance that allows the tenant to notify the landlord within 14 days of the rent due date rather than seven, as under the Governor’s order, and the tenant goes beyond the seven days, the tenant might still have an eviction defense under the ordinance, but the tenant would not get the benefit of the 60-day extension on the answer period.

 

City and County COVID-19 Eviction Moratoriums 

 

The following questions pertain to city and county rent moratoriums only when a city or county has adopted such an ordinance. For the questions pertaining to the March 27, 2020, Governor’s order creating a statewide rent moratorium, see the above section.

Did the Governor’s Executive Order from March 16, 2020 to protect renters impose a statewide moratorium on evictions?


No. The Governor’s Order from March 16, 2020, only provides a basis for a city or county to place restrictions on evictions and only when a tenant has not paid rent due to a COVID-19 related issue. These restrictions do not go into effect automatically. Each city/county must order its own restrictions. 
 

If a city/county has adopted such a restriction, does it prevent the landlord from evicting for causes other than non-payment of rent?


Even if a city/county did order such a restriction, it would not limit the right of the landlord to terminate a tenancy for any other reason. For example, a landlord would still be permitted to terminate a tenancy based on a tenant’s breach of a covenant of the lease, or illegal activity on the property, and assuming the property is exempt from the statewide just cause eviction law, terminate a month to month tenancy without cause. 

Which cities/counties have adopted such restrictions on evictions?


This list of cities/counties adopting such restrictions is being added to daily. Here is a list of cities/counties so far that have adopted COVID-19 eviction restrictions as of March 22, 2020: 

 

How exactly do these city/county restrictions on evictions operate? 


Each one is slightly different. So, in all cases, it is necessary to check the specific city/county order. But in general, if the city/county has adopted restrictions as authorized by the Governor, then evictions may be suspended when:

 

  • The basis of the eviction is nonpayment of rent

  • Arising out of a substantial decrease in household or business income

  • Caused by a COVID-19 related circumstance and

  • It is documented

 

Examples of a substantial decrease in household income may include:

 

  • A substantial reduction in income caused by layoffs or a reduction in the number of hours worked

  • Or a substantial decrease in business income caused by a reduction in opening hours or consumer demand

  • Or substantial out of pocket medical expenses. 

If a tenant cannot pay the rent due to a COVID-19 related substantial reduction in income, do they still owe the rent?


Yes. Nothing in these city/county orders will relieve the tenant of the obligation to pay rent. However, many of the local orders will give the tenant up to six months to make up the back rent. Check your local city/county order. (It’s unclear whether the localities have the authority to extend back rent repayment by more than the Governor’s order itself which is set to expire at the end of May.  But most have. So, landlords should comply with it).

How long are these orders in effect and can they apply retroactively?

 

Presently, they could be in effect through May 31, 2020, unless extended. However, it is possible that the city/county may have adopted a shorter time period. Also, the restrictions may apply retroactively. For example, they may apply to any notice to pay rent or quit served after March 1, 2020. 

If the tenant does not pay the rent due to a COVID-19 related reduction in income, can the money be deducted from the security deposit?


Yes. Under most leases, including C.A.R.’s residential lease agreement, any time rent is due and not paid, it may be deducted from the security deposit. 

Does the tenant have to prove by documentation how the substantial reduction in income was related to a COVID-19 related circumstance?

 

Yes. Eventually, this documentation must be produced. What’s not clear is whether such documentation must be produced at the time a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit is served. Some ordinances are clear on this point and specify that the documentation must be presented to the landlord. Most, however, simply assert that a substantial reduction in income is an affirmative defense.

Do these city/county orders apply only to residential property?


No. They may apply to commercial property as well. 

 

May a landlord charge or collect late fees under these city/county orders?

 

The answer will depend on the specific ordinance adopted by the city or county. An ordinance prohibiting evictions for non-payment of rent may include a prohibition on the collection of late fees. Also, a local ordinance could possibly have the effect of legally altering the due date of the rent. If the rent is not technically due, then it likely isn’t “late.”

 

 

Property Management Issues

 

Are property managers services “essential” or are they non-essential based on the Governor’s March 22, 2020, Shelter in Place order?

Their services are essential. Previously, many commercial or residential real estate services involving face-to-face interactions, including property management services, may have been prohibited under the Governor’s Shelter in Place order. But on March 28, 2020, the Cyber Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) expanded the list of services categorized as “essential” so that residential real estate services are now deemed essential services. Since the Governor’s order incorporates the CISA essential service list by reference, the change effectively means property management, for which a real estate license in California is required, now constitutes an essential service under the Governor’s order, too.

 

The CISA update also lists workers supporting essential maintenance, operation, inspection, and security as essential services (which come within the category of “other community or government-based operations and essential service function”).

 

In addition to these designated essential services, there is also a separate category under “commercial facilities” that lists workers distributing, servicing, repairing or installing residential and commercial HVAC systems, boilers, furnaces and other heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation equipment. These designated essential service workers were so designated even before the CISA update of March 28, 2020.

 

Even though property management is now an essential service under the Governor’s statewide Shelter in Place order, there may be more restrictive local city and county orders which are still in force.

 

Are property managers or workmen legally allowed to interact with a tenant face-to-face?

 

Yes. As an essential service, property managers are legally permitted to perform their work even if it requires a face-to-face interaction. However, repairs should only be made when they are “essential.” For example, maintenance and repair of plumbing, heating, electrical, safety, habitability and sanitation will necessarily be essential maintenance. While cosmetic repairs such as painting and upgrading appliances would not.

 

There may be more restrictive local laws. For example, while the city of Los Angeles does designate property management as an essential service, it also requires a mask to be worn during any face-to-face interactions as well as maintenance of social distancing rules. Some localities require the posting of social distance warning signs at the entrance of multi-unit dwellings. While most of the Bay Area counties which previously excluded real estate as an essential service have amended their ordinances to align with Governor’s order, there may still be some counties that adhere to the more restrictive standard.    

 

Can a property manager legally perform a walk-through inspection for a planned move-out?

Certainly, if requested by the tenant, it would be legally required for the property manager to perform the walk-through. However, if the tenant has not requested one, then our advice is to not to perform one unless the tenant agrees to sign the PEAD form since you would be entering without their specific agreement. See below for a discussion of the PEAD form.

 

Is a tenant required to allow entry into a property for purposes of showing it or for making necessary repairs when the tenant fears being exposed to the coronavirus? 


The coronavirus crisis has rendered the answer to even basic legal questions murky. If there is an emergency, then certainly the landlord should be able to enter after having taken all reasonable precautions. Short of an emergency, our answer according to our Best Practices Guide is to not allow in-person showings of occupied units without the express consent of the tenant.

 

What is the recommended Best Practice for property managers who wish to show a tenant occupied property or must enter to make necessary repairs during the corona virus pandemic?

 

The C.A.R. Best Practices Guidelines recommends that you only enter the property if the tenant expressly consents to allow entry and after having advised the tenant of the dangers relating to having persons enter the property. Moreover, both the tenant and the person entering will declare that they are not afflicted with a COVID 19 respiratory illness to the best of their belief. C.A.R. has the PEAD form for this purpose. See the section below in our discussion of forms.

 

Following the Best Practices Guidelines, the tenant should stand outside the dwelling while it is being shown, and no more than two persons (other than the property manager) should be in the property at the same time. The form requires social distancing rules to be obeyed and that all persons entering the property will wear masks and gloves (if available).

 

What other precautions are recommended by the Best Practices Guidelines?

 

The Best Practices were developed primarily with the showing of single-family properties for sale in mind. But many of its recommendations apply equally well to viewing properties for rent.

  • When entering a property refrain from touching any surface.

  • Follow the CDC guidelines by maintaining a safe distance from anyone in the property by staying a minimum of six feet apart.

  • Wear disposable gloves, and afterwards dispose of them.

  • If the size of the residential unit makes it difficult to maintain the six-foot distance for all parties, individuals may need to wait outside and come in the property one at a time, at all times maintaining proper social distance.

  • Discussions after the showing should be conducted through electronic means such as email, telephone, Zoom or FaceTime, rather than in person, as maintaining a conversation while adhering to the social distance guidelines is difficult.

 

What if the landlord does not want to follow C.A.R.’s Best Practices Guidelines?
 

Ultimately, the decision to follow the Best Practices Guidelines is a decision that requires an agreement between a landlord and the property manager which should be worked out. Whether a property manager or landlord wants to conduct in-person showings of units, for either vacant or occupied property, is a business decision.

 

Where a landlord is insisting that a property be shown, a property manager’s refusal to show a property unless the Best Practices Guidelines are followed could constitute a breach of the property manager’s contractual obligations. But it’s not clear. For example, the C.A.R. Property Management Agreement (C.A.R. Form PMA) obligates the property manager to use due diligence in the performance of their duties, which does not necessarily require the property manager to follow every instruction given by the property owner.  Arguably, in these uncertain times, complying with Best Practice Guidelines meets the due diligence standard and would give an owner cause to consider the broker in breach of contract.  In this case, a property manager should weigh the risk of refusing against their own reasonable and legitimate health and safety concerns. 

 

Can a landlord evict a tenant who is suffering from the coronavirus?
 

No. The statewide just cause eviction law does not list infectious illness as one of the 15 just cause reasons on which an eviction may be based. But even if the property were exempt from the state just case eviction law, a landlord could not evict on this basis since it would likely constitute illegal discrimination.    
 

 

New C.A.R. Standard Forms related to COVID-19 and Property Management

 

What are the new C.AR. Standard Forms related to COVID-19 and property management?

 

There are three of them:

 

NTAP -- Notice to Tenant of Ability to Pay Rent During Coronavirus Pandemic

 

This form serves as a notice from the landlord to the tenant, advising of federal, state, county and city orders that protect tenants who are unable to pay rent due to a coronavirus related job loss or loss of substantial income. The form advises tenants to notify landlords immediately if they are unable to pay rent, and that unpaid rent is abated, but not forgiven.

 

RPD -- Coronavirus Rent Payment Delay and Repayment Agreement

 

This form provides an agreement between a landlord and tenant to delay the payment of

rent, due to the coronavirus, and an agreement to a repayment plan.  The form allows the tenant to detail the precise reason for the delay and provide proof of his or her inability to pay.

 

PEAD -- Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration

 

This form is an agreement and declaration by all parties entering a property for sale or lease during the coronavirus pandemic, that they understand the risks of exposure to the coronavirus and will take all reasonable and necessary precautions (as detailed in the form), to protect themselves and others from the spread of the coronavirus.  This form is to be used only by REALTORS working in areas where entry into a property for sale or lease is permitted.

Why would you use the NTAP form (“Notice to Tenant of Ability to Pay Rent During Coronavirus Pandemic”)?

 

The purpose of this letter is to create a dialogue between the owner and the tenant while clarifying the obligations of the tenant. Many tenants may be aware of the various rent moratoria orders. But they may mistakenly believe that moratoria orders waive all rent, so that it need not be paid back. The letter advises the tenant generally of the eviction moratoria orders, but it also is makes clear that under these orders, the rent is temporarily deferred, but not forgiven, and will need to be repaid.  

 

In this way, a landlord might simply deliver the notice to all of their tenants in advance of rent being due. Or a landlord may also choose to deliver the form only when a particular tenant is not paying the rent.

Is the NTAP a required form?

 

Generally, no. Neither the Governor’s statewide eviction moratorium nor most of the local city or county order require notice of this type to be given to the tenant. 

 

However, some cities or counties do in fact require this kind of notice. If that is the case, then an attorney will have to draft the notice to ensure that it complies with the local requirements. You would not use the NTAP since it is a generic form and does not necessarily comply with the details of a local ordinance requiring notice to a tenant of the rent moratorium.

 

When should the RPD be used (“Coronavirus Rent Payment Delay and Repayment Agreement”)?

 

When the tenant is unable to pay the rent, and you would like to clarify when the rent will be paid and establish some type of rent repayment schedule.

 

How is the RPD structured?

 

It has five main parts.

 

Notification: First, the tenant notifies the landlord that he or she doesn’t have the ability to pay all or a portion of their rent. The Governor’s statewide moratorium order states that the tenant must notify the landlord in writing within seven days of their inability to pay rent. But other local orders may allow the tenant more time or less time, or even require the tenant to provide this notice before the rent is due.

 

Reason: Second, the tenant will indicate the reason why they are unable to pay the rent as being COVID 19 related. The Governor’s statewide moratorium order and all of the local orders require the reason for non-payment to be based on a COVID 19 related circumstance. The reasons described in the form mirror the enumerated reasons in the Governor’s order.

 

Documentation: Three, the tenant will provide documentation verifying the reason. Under the Governor’s order, and all of the local orders, the reason must be documented. However, the time at which the documentation must be provided varies. Under the Governor’s order the documentation must be provided at the time the back rent is repaid. But local orders may require the documentation to be provided much earlier.

Payment Calculation: Four, the tenant and landlord agree on whether the tenant will be making partial payments or no payments during the affected period.  From that calculation the total rent deferred can be determined.  The form suggests that rent delayed in one or more months should be paid back in full by a certain time. This makes sense both practically and in light of various local ordinances that give the tenant a certain time for repayment.

 

Repayment Plan:  Fifth, a repayment schedule for the unpaid rent is mutually agreed to and allows for either a balloon payment option or a repayment schedule.  

 

The balloon payment option as a default falls on June 1, 2020, which under the Governor’s existing order is technically when all of the rent would be due, or the parties may choose a different balloon payment date. The preprinted repayment schedule allows for a delay of up to 6 months, which is the time that many local eviction moratoriums allow a tenant to repay all past due rent. Or a different monthly repayment schedule may be chosen.  As between the June 1 “balloon payment” and a monthly repayment schedule, the latter option is probably more realistic in terms of actually collecting rent.

 

zipForm® has been programmed to auto-calculate the deferred rent amount, in the fourth section, and the monthly payment amounts for unpaid rent in the fifth.

 

Is the RPD a required form?

 

No. There is no legal requirement to enter into an agreement of this sort. But as a practical matter, a tenant (or any person, really) is more likely to adhere to a clear structure set out in writing than if there were a mere oral understanding as to when the rent must be repaid, or worse yet, no clear understanding at all.

 

Once entered into, the rescheduling of rent is arguably enforceable against the landlord but may not necessarily be enforceable against the tenant as long as an eviction moratorium is in place or extended.

 

When should the PEAD form be used (“Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration”)?
 

It should be used whenever anyone enters a property.

 

Who should sign the PEAD form?

 

It should be signed by both the tenant and the person entering the property.

 

Is obtaining an agreement and declaration using the PEAD form legally required?

 

There is no legal requirement. However, under C.A.R. “Best Practices Guidelines” it is required.

 

What is the recommended Best Practice for property managers who wish to show a tenant occupied property or must enter to make necessary repairs during the coronavirus pandemic?

 

See questions #36 and #37 above.

 

Where can I obtain more information?

 

This legal article is just one of the many legal publications and services offered by C.A.R. to its members. For a complete listing of C.A.R.'s legal products and services, please visit car.org/legal.

 



Readers who require specific advice should consult an attorney. C.A.R. members requiring legal assistance may contact C.A.R.'s Member Legal Hotline at (213) 739-8282, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. C.A.R. members who are broker-owners, office managers, or Designated REALTORS® may contact the Member Legal Hotline at (213) 739-8350 to receive expedited service. Members may also submit online requests to speak with an attorney on the Member Legal Hotline by going to http://www.car.org/helplines/legal-hotline-access/. Written correspondence should be addressed to:

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Member Legal Services
525 South Virgil Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020

The information contained herein is believed accurate as of April 11, 2020. It is intended to provide general answers to general questions and is not intended as a substitute for individual legal advice. Advice in specific situations may differ depending upon a wide variety of factors. Therefore, readers with specific legal questions should seek the advice of an attorney. Written by Robert Bloom, Esq.

Copyright© 2020 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Permission is granted to C.A.R. members to reprint this material in hardcopy or PDF format only for personal use or with individual clients. This material may not be used or reproduced for commercial purposes. Other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the C.A.R Legal Department. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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