The Judicial Council of California adopted an emergency order which suspends eviction proceedings statewide during the COVID-19 emergency, according to the Western Center on Law & Poverty.
The new rule, which was adopted at a meeting on April 6, applies to all courts and eviction cases whether they are based on nonpayment of rent or another reason. The court rule will remain in place until 90 days after the Governor lifts the state of emergency related to the Coronavirus outbreak, or if it amended by the Judicial Council.
While the rule is in place, courts are prohibited from issuing summons after a landlord files an eviction case unless doing so is deemed necessary to protect public health and safety. Tenants are not under the normal five-day deadline to respond to the case, and are not required to respond until the rule is lifted.
Courts are also prohibited from entering an automatic default judgment against the tenant in the event of non-response, unless deemed necessary for public safety or if the tenant fails to respond in the time required by law. This includes any extension resulting from the Governor's Executive Order blocking evictions for those unable to pay rent due to COVID-19.
In eviction cases where tenants have already responded or appeared, courts are prohibited from setting a trial date earlier than 60 days after the trial is requested. Any case that was already scheduled as of April is to be postponed until at least 60 days after the initial trial date.
The Judicial Council has also adopted a rule suspending foreclosure proceedings until 90 days after the Governor lifts the ongoing state of emergency, postponing all legal deadlines, extending periods for exercising rights in foreclosure cases, and prohibiting any court from taking action unless deemed necessary for public safety.
The orders by the Judicial Council effectively places evictions and foreclosures on hold through the summer, according to the Western Center, but do o establish any new tenant rights or address requirements from notifying landlords or providing documentation to show inability to pay rent due to COVID-19.
Several Southern California cities have already moved to block evictions for those affected by COVID-19, and Los Angeles County is currently exploring a similar moratorium for those which have not already established their own policies.