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Temporary Eviction Moratorium

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City of San Marcos extends temporary eviction moratorium to assist residential and commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19

On May 12, the San Marcos City Council voted to extend the City’s temporary eviction moratorium to June 30, 2020.  The moratorium was initially enacted as an urgency measure on March 24, 2020, to protect residential and commercial tenants from the possibility of eviction by reason of financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and imposed a temporary moratorium against such evictions.  The time period within which tenants need to provide written notice to their landlord that they have experienced a substantial decrease in their household or business income, or have experienced substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, due to COVID-19 has been shortened to 7 days from the previous 30 day notice period, to be consistent with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-37-20. 

Here is an overview of the moratorium:

For Tenants
If there has been a substantial decrease in your household or business income caused by layoffs or significantly reduced hours, or if you have incurred substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and if the decrease in income and/or the medical expenses were caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Council’s action temporarily prohibits your landlord from filing or pursuing an eviction action.

This does not mean that you do not owe the rent to your landlord – it means that the rent will be deferred until after June 30, 2020. If your rental agreement provides for a late payment fee, that fee will still be owed to the landlord if you defer your rent payment.

What should you do if you are in this situation? For those tenants taking action from and after May 12, within 7 days after the date rent is due, NOTIFY YOUR LANDLORD IN WRITING that you have suffered a substantial decrease in your household or your business income (whichever is applicable), and provide your landlord with documents that show your substantial decrease in income is due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Try to negotiate a mutually acceptable repayment period, and retain copies of the notice, your documentation of the COVID-19 cause of your financial circumstances, and all communications with your landlord.

If your landlord has initiated or threatened such an action during the moratorium period, and you can show that your inability to pay rent was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, please go to the City of San Marcos website (www.san-marcos.net) and click on the “Report A Concern” button, or select “Departments” and then “City Attorney,” and email the City Attorney from a link on that page. Your claim will be investigated and, if found to be substantiated, action will be taken against your landlord.

For Landlords
If you receive timely notice from a tenant that they have experienced a substantial decrease in their household or business income caused by layoffs or significantly reduced hours, or if they have incurred substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and if the substantial decrease in income and/or the medical expenses were caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Council’s action prohibits you from filing or pursuing an eviction action against that tenant until after June 30, 2020.

This does not mean that the rent is not owed to you – it means that the rent will be deferred until after June 30, 2020. If your rental agreement provides for a late payment fee, that fee will still be owed to you if your tenant defers their rent payment.

If your tenant provides you with notice within 7 days of the date their rent is due that they have suffered a substantial decrease in their household or their business income (whichever is applicable), and provide you with documents that show a substantial decrease in income is due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are PRECLUDED from initiating or pursuing an eviction action against that tenant until after June 30, 2020.

If the City learns that you have initiated such an eviction action and it is substantiated on review, you will be subjected to an enforcement action which will include the imposition of fines and orders. Please avoid this situation and work proactively with your tenants; in these difficult times it is important to work together to come to a mutually acceptable alternative payment schedule. If you have any questions, please go to the City of San Marcos website (www.san-marcos.net) and select “Departments” and then “City Attorney,” and email or call the City Attorney with the information provided on that page.

  

Please note: Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order on March 27, 2020, which requires notice to be provided to landlords no later than 7 days after the rent is due, and which may provide protection relating to eviction proceedings.  If possible, you should notify your landlord in writing that you cannot pay all or a portion of your rent within 7 DAYS after your rent is due, and retain the required documentation supporting your inability to pay all or a portion of your rent.

 

State Executive Order Issued March 27, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order on March 27, 2020 relating to residential eviction actions when the tenant is unable to work or must care for a family member as a result of a confirmed case of COVID-19, or suffers a job loss or income reduction as a result of COVID-19, or must miss work to care for a child because of a school closure in response to COVID-19.

Tenants must provide notice of that fact to their landlords, and advise they cannot pay their rent, within seven days after their rent comes due. When triggered, the Order extends the time for tenants to respond to an eviction action for a period of 60 days if they are served during the time the Executive Order is in effect, and also prohibits the enforcement of any writ for eviction during that period of time. The Order is effective until June 30, 2020. You can learn more here