Summary of AB 3088 — The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (“CTRA”)
The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, enacted by AB 3088, was passed by the California Legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newson on August 31, 2020. Please see below information regarding AB 3088 and how to comply with the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020.
Under assembly bill 3088, if a tenant has failed to pay any portion of rent due during and still owing for the period from March 1, 2020, through and including August 31, 2020, housing providers must provide a notice to the tenant by September 30, 2020, a “Notice of COVID-19 Relief Act of 2020” to later evict a tenant and/or to collect past due rent.
What is AB 3088?
This Assembly Bill includes new provisions of the law intended to assist homeowners and renters who are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AB 3088 was passed by a two-thirds majority and took effect immediately upon signature by Governor Gavin Newson. The bill provides new protections from evictions for non-payment for renters affected by the coronavirus, extensions of “just-cause” eviction rule through January 31, 2021, to all renters, expansions of small claims jurisdiction for COVID-19 debts, limits guardrails on local eviction moratoria, and new penalties for illegal lock-outs. Renters are entitled to a 15-day notice if the landlord is seeking rent or other charges due between March 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021.
However, if residents return to a declaration of COVID-19 financial distress, the landlord must comply with the following:
- For the March-August payments, the landlord cannot evict
- For September- January payments, the landlord must allow the resident until January 31, 2021, to make a 25% payment, and can only evict if the resident fails to make that payment
The reasons the landlord can evict are limited to those specified in the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482), with the following modifications:
- Evictions for demolition or substantial renovation are limited to circumstances where it’s necessary for compliance with health and safety laws
- Exception for a single-family home and condo owners who have a contract for sale with a buyer who intends to occupy the unit
- Exception for tenancies already terminated before March 1, 2020
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many local governments throughout the state of California adopted local eviction moratoria. AB 3088 put some guardrails around what local governments could do to expand or add new eviction moratoria. Local eviction moratoria set to expire before January 31, 2021, can remain in place until the end of their term but cannot be extended or renewed before February 1, 2021. Repayment periods that are set to begin before March 1, 2021, cannot be extended, and later repayment periods must begin by March 1, 2021. This new law does not limit local governments from adopting, amending, or enforcing “just cause” ordinances, but cannot create new mandates concerning payments due between March 2020 and January 2021.
AB 3088 also created new penalties for illegal lock-outs. Under the law, before AB 3088 was passed, landlords who illegally evicted their residents could be held liable for the resident’s actual damages plus a penalty of $100 per day. AB 3088 enhances the penalties for construction eviction, on top of what the law already provided. It states that a landlord who illegal lock-out a resident, who provided the landlord with a declaration for COVID-19 related financial distress, could be liable for an additional penalty of between $1,000 and $2,500. Currently, this provision is set to subset by February 1, 2021.