The California Supreme Court amended the California Rules of Court effective April 6, 2020. We received the amendment this morning. This amendment is all encompassing order and covers the entire State of California.
Please review the following excerpts:
“Emergency Rule 1 - Unlawful Detainers
Notwithstanding any other law, including Code of Civil Procedure sections 1166, 1167, 1169 and 1170.5, this rules applies to all actions for unlawful detainer.
(b) Issuance of Summons
A court may not issue a summons on a complaint for unlawful detainer unless the court finds, in its discretion and on the record, that the action is necessary to protect public health and safety.
(c) Entry of default
A court may not enter a default or a default judgment for restitution in an unlawful detainer action for failure of defendant to appear unless the court finds both of the following:
- The action is necessary to protect public health and safety; and
- The defendant has not appeared in the action within the time provided by law, including by any applicable executive order.
Time for trial
If a defendant has appeared in the action, the court may not set a trial date earlier than 60 days after a request for trial is made unless the court finds that an earlier trial date is necessary to protect public health and safety. Any trial set in an unlawful detainer proceeding as of April 6, 2020 must be continued at least 60 days from the initial date of trial.
(e) Sunset of rule
This rule will remain in effect until 90 days after the Governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted,
or until amended or repealed by the Judicial Council.”
: No new eviction actions can be filed anywhere within the State of California without counsel first getting an order, on record, wherein the court confirms that the action is necessary to protect public health and safety. We presume the hearings will be handled via Court Call or another telephonic service. It is also clear that those orders will be issued sparingly.
- Uncontested cases: The court is now precluded from entering a default judgment for possession without counsel getting a court order confirming that the action is necessary to protect public health and safety. These cases will not be completed.
- Contested Cases: Trials will be put out a minimum of 60 days. While the order is silent as to trials, we expect the trial court to also require an order, confirming that the action is necessary to protect public health and safety, before they will allow a trial to proceed.
This order applies to all cases, including commercial and residential matters. This order is “not” rent specific and therefore governs all cases, including cases based on non- monetary issues such as use violations, illegal marijuana operations, etc.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
While we can appreciate the need to give tenants relief during this catastrophic pandemic, that relief cannot be solely at the expense of landlords. We are also concerned that a blanket order, with no qualifications whatsoever required of tenants, sets up a perfect platform for abuse of the system.
If you would like your voice to be heard, we’ve attached a Quick Reference guide with contact information for national, state and local officials. We encourage you to reach out and share your viewpoint.