During the COVID crisis laws were passed and executive orders made to protect renters from being evicted due to non-payment of rent. Here is a prediction of which laws might last beyond the pandemic and become business as usual:
15-Day Notice to Quit
The legislature has talked for a few years about expanding the 3-Day Notice to Quit to 5 or 10 days; during the pandemic they expanded this to 15. Only a few years ago, if a tenant did not pay by the due date (usually the 5th of the month), a 3-Day Notice to Quit or Pay Rent would be posted on their door and mailed, and 3 calendar days later, if they had not paid rent, the tenant could be evicted, or by the 10th of the month. In 2019, the legislature passed a law defining the 3 days as “court days”, so if they 5th landed on a Friday, and the following Monday was a holiday, the tenant would have until the 12th to pay rent. If this 15-day period becomes the new standard, the tenant would have until the 27th of the month (assuming no holidays) to pay rent. It might cost them a late fee, but the tenant has bought themselves 3 weeks to pay rent and not risk eviction.
Expanded AB 1482
As part of AB 3088, the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, the protections of AB 1482, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, was extended to single family homes. It has always been the goal of tenant advocacy groups to have all rentals subject to rent control and just cause eviction. Proposition 21 would expand rent control only to owners who owned 3 or more single family homes (or condos), but under AB 3088 all rental real estate enjoys these renter protections. The legislature could include more real estate under rent control and offer relocation relief to tenants.
Expanded Small Claims
The highest claim amount for small claims court is $10,000. As part of AB 3088, monetary damages to owners for non-payment of rent, even if in excess of $10,000 will be tried in small claims. This is great for owners because currently, anything more than $10,000 in damages must go to civil court, take months to be heard, requires an attorney to present the case and costs $5,000. If “loss of rent” or “damage to property” cases could be heard in small claims, even if higher than $10,000, that would be a boon for property owners.
30 Day Wait for Eviction
Prior to the pandemic, it was possible to post a 3-Day, and if the tenant did not pay the entire rent, start the eviction process immediately on the 4th day. If the courts were not swamped, and the tenants contested the eviction, we could be in courts within 4 weeks and have the tenant out by the sixth week. Any form of relief given to tenants during this crisis and even when AB 3088 expires, and assuming it is not extended, court dates for eviction will not start before March 1, 2021. There was a push in the past, and there may be another post-pandemic, to give the tenant a 30-day period after posting the 3-Day (or 15-Day if that change is not reversed) before an eviction can be filed. That buys the tenant 30 additional days of possession of the property not paying rent, and if the 15-Day Notice period becomes permanent, 6 weeks of free rent. It will still take another 6 weeks to evict the tenant, so the tenant could potentially enjoy 3 months of non-payment before they are finally evicted.