The policy-making arm of the Judicial Council has voted 19-1 to thaw the freeze on unlawful detainer actions, but we predict that the reopening of courts will not be tidy. Nonpayment of rent cases will not be heard until far in the future and we will be struggling to practice law in the courts because of social distancing and muzzles on our faces. This is the new reality we are faced with.
Although the courts will soon be open for business, it falls to lawmakers and the Governor to find more permanent solutions to handle the ripple effects of COVID.
In no uncertain terms, the judiciary has stated it is not their role to shape public policy; that is the onus of the legislative and executive branch. So, while not making any judgment on the merits of eviction moratoriums, the Judicial Council has told the other two branches to do their job. We wholeheartedly agree and provide some context in our latest update.
With lawmakers back in session, we do not know what answer they will have to address rent debt accrued during the pandemic. So far, proposals floated have been less than ideal for landlords, but in our latest blog, we survey some ideas and make our own sales pitch for the wealthiest among us to create a pool of funds so that tenants can tap into interest-free loans.
In parting thoughts, we are encouraged that the wheels of the judicial system are beginning to turn and for those of you in areas where back rent accumulated during states of emergency is treated as consumer debt and cannot be used as a reason for eviction, we remain cautiously optimistic that litigation challenging these rules have a fighting chance to prevail.
Keen on providing guidance in the most bizarre of times and navigating through this together,