Some of our thoughts as a key date is nearing

September 30th is fast approaching, the date when California’s eviction ​moratorium ​is set to expire. We were concerned that yet another extension was in the cards because of the delta variant but it seems that lawmakers have no appetite to push it further into the future. 

With this deadline looming and with little political will to prolong jobless benefits, there is continued and amplified fear-mongering with predictions of an impending eviction cliff.

Our counter-narrative is that landlords are not frothing at the bit to evict tenants and indeed, we have advised our community throughout the pandemic to avoid courts except for the most egregious of circumstances.​

The priority for rental housing providers now is to work with tenants to obtain rental assistance funds because the money is available, the prospect of collecting rent arrears through other means is uncertain, and the law says landlords have to show a good-faith effort has been made to seek help.

We can learn a lot from the many volunteers, part-time workers, community activists, and other compassionate people who are bringing landlords and tenants together in the common goal of completing applications and expediting the arrival of sorely needed funds.

If there are any livability issues in rental units, we want you to address them now, as this will surely be a defense to any unlawful action actions.

That the landlord did not maintain the rental unit in ​a ​habitable condition is a favorite argument used by tenants’ attorneys. California’s implied warranty of habitability applies to all residential dwellings, whether or not the tenant is paying rent.

The suffering of landlords who have been bereft of rental income could be prolonged when a tenants’ attorney successfully makes the case that rent is not owed because the tenant is living in substandard conditions, even if sometimes caused by the tenant. Let's avoid this plight and be proactive.

If an unlawful detainer is in fact advisable come October, these actions will look different than what they were in a pre-pandemic world.

The Judicial Council - the policymaking arm of the California judiciary - will soon publish final unlawful detainer forms. Revised forms for small claims and civil court actions to recoup rent debt as COVID-19 tenant protections expire will also be forthcoming and of course, Bornstein Law will use the most updated instructions and documentation to move our clients’ cases forward.

With reports of asking rents on the uptick, we want our community to right-size rents and understand that asking rents are just that - asking. We can ask for a winning lottery ticket, but it may not arrive. 

Of course, there are a host of variables to consider and Bornstein Law can strategize with clients on how to optimize income.

If a rent increase in a tenant-occupied unit is permissible - a big IF - there are likewise many factors to take into account when calibrating rents. At any rate, rent hikes must come with proper notice. 

Bottom line: we would like our clients not to get over-exuberant and instead, take a careful, methodical approach with pricing/rent increases and seek proper counsel before acting hastily. 

Bornstein Law has been accessible in every chapter of the pandemic and we will continue to be there for rental housing providers and the real estate professionals who serve them.

The difference now? Only in this phase will we have more traditional means at our disposal to manage landlord-tenant relationships, although the courts should be used sparingly.

Thanks so much for your continued engagement, and please remain safe.

Dedicated to helping you power through your real estate challenges in every time and season,


Some interesting snippets

S.F. couple awarded $2.7 million after alleged harassment by landlord

When we admonish owners to be patient, follow what the law prescribes, and not take matters into their hands with "self-help" eviction measures, we have cases like this in mind.

Rents in San Francisco are up 10 percent

Or are they? Prospective tenants are not necessarily willing to pay what landlords ask for and although seasonality has bumped up demand, it will be a long while before rents make any meaningful upward trajectory, in our view.

In a boost to landlords, Supreme Court blocks part of New York's eviction moratorium

In California, tenants can self-assert a COVID-related hardship to avoid eviction and merely check boxes without any verification, but SCOTUS strikes down a provision in New York's eviction moratorium, ruling that 'no man can be a judge in his own case' and renters must prove a hardship in court in order to afford landlords due process.

Ghost Ship building landlords to pay $12M to victims' families, and declare bankruptcy

Justice served, or justice denied? There's a sense of finality, at least legally. But for many who have the tragedy etched on their soul, there should be more consequences for turning a blind eye to the fire trap.

Melinda Gates' divorce lawyer tells how he handles bitter splits between billionaire clients

As a boutique law firm that manages acrimonious relationships, we were intrigued to come across this lawyer who specializes in divorcing celebrities and billionaires. High-profile clients are sometimes escorted out of the country or given code names like "watermelon" to ensure secrecy.

A startup is turning houses into corporations, and the neighbors are fighting back

We were intrigued to come across Pacasco's unique business model of scooping up homes through an LLC, vetting co-owners, and allowing them to divvy up ownership and stays. There is some confusion in classifying this hybrid business model and exactly what rules they are subject to.

The hard men removing squatters in Spain

When squatters in Spain won't leave and even demand ransom to vacate the premises, private eviction companies have been formed. One solution is to send boxers and martial arts experts to confront the squatters. These big, burly men are not easily intimidated and get their message across rather convincingly to the unwanted occupants. Import this business model to California?

For more happenings and insights, stay plugged in.


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