[COVID-19] California Judicial Council Issues New Rules on Evictions and Judicial Foreclosures

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The California courts have new rules issued to them by the California Judicial Council (the ruling body of the courts).

California Evictions Rules

The following evictions rules have been released:

  • Prohibits a court from issuing a summons after a landlord files an eviction case, unless necessary to protect public health and safety. This means that the time for the tenant to respond to a new eviction case will not begin until the rule is lifted. In effect, it stays eviction proceedings until further notice.
  • For eviction cases where the tenant has responded or appeared, prohibits a court from setting the case for trial earlier than 60 days after a trial is requested, unless necessary to protect public health and safety.

California Judicial Foreclosures Rules

In addition, California courts have new rules regarding judicial foreclosures. This rule also applies until 90 days after the Governor lifts the Coronavirus state of emergency. The rule:

  • Prohibits a court from taking any action or issuing any decisions or judgments unless necessary for public health and safety. This effectively stays all judicial foreclosure cases in the state of California.

While these emergency rules effectively put evictions and foreclosures on hold at least through the summer, they do not establish any new tenant rights or defenses to an eviction, address requirements for notifying landlords or providing documentation when tenants are unable to pay rent due to loss of income or other COVID-19 related reasons, or address how repayment will be handled.

California is the latest state to enact these types of laws.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that both judicial foreclosures and evictions are stayed a minimum of 120 days, and likely could be longer. Lenders anticipating issues with borrowers should get in front of it, discuss options with their borrower, and attempt a solution.

As of the time of this writing, nonjudicial foreclosures are still possible.

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