Eviction protections for unpaid rent during COVID-19
Starting October 1, 2021, new laws apply to evictions for unpaid rent. In some cases, tenants may be protected from eviction. Landlords are required to take more steps, like apply for government rental assistance, before they can file an eviction (unlawful detainer) case.
Find out about legal and housing resources, including California's COVID-19 Rent Relief Program.
Eviction protections for unpaid rent
Some tenants are protected from eviction for COVID-19 rental debt
COVID-19 rental debt is rent and other payments required under the rental agreement, like utilities or parking fees, that came due between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.
The law protects tenants from eviction for not paying COVID-19 rental debt due between:
March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020, if the tenant gave their landlord a COVID-19-Related Declaration of Financial Distress by the 15-day Notice deadline
September 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, if the tenant gave their landlord a COVID-19-Related Declaration of Financial Distress and paid 25% of their COVID-19 rental debt by September 30, 2021
Tenants still owe COVID-19 rental debt. Starting November 1, 2021, a landlord can sue their tenant for COVID-19 rental debt.
Landlords can't get a Summons in an eviction case for unpaid rent while their tenant is waiting for a decision on a completed government rental assistance application
If the landlord does file and serve an eviction Complaint while their tenant is waiting for the decision, the tenant can use the fact that they completed the application and are waiting for a decision as a defense to the eviction.
Tenants may be able to stop an eviction case if they are approved for government rental assistance
If a tenant is approved for rental assistance money after an eviction case (unlawful detainer) is started, they can ask the court to stop the eviction process.
The tenant can file an Application to Prevent Forfeiture Due to COVID-19 Rental Debt (form UD-125). This form is used if a landlord filed the eviction case for past due rent or other rental agreement fees for between either:
March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021
October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 (only if the lease started before October 1, 2021)
New requirements for landlords owed rent from October 1, 2021 and March 30, 2022
Before a landlord can start an eviction case (unlawful detainer), they must both:
- Give their tenant a written Notice under Civil Code Section 1179.10 that has information about government rental assistance
- Apply for government rental assistance. If the tenant is eligible and money is available, California will pay up to 100% of the unpaid rent as far back as April 1, 2020.
What about other reasons not related to paying rent?
Tenants may still be evicted for reasons such as not following the rental agreement, nuisance, committing a crime on the property, or if the owner has a justified reason for taking back the property.
Select one of the options below to get specific instructions and information for landlords or tenants for residential evictions: eviction from a home, duplex, condo, apartment, or room.
For information about commercial (business), mobile home/RV, hotel/motel, transitional housing, animal, boat, or other non-residential evictions talk to a lawyer.