Effective April 6, 2020, the California Judicial Council enacted eleven Emergency Rules of the California Rules of Court due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These new Emergency Rules suspend most unlawful detainer (eviction) and foreclosure matters brought before California courts. The Judicial Council of California is the rule-making arm of the California court system. Under California’s Constitution and the leadership of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California, the Judicial Council is responsible for “ensuring the consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration of justice.”
- Evictions / Unlawful Detainer (Emergency Rule 1)
As a result of adopting the New Emergency Rules, courts may no longer issue a summons on a complaint for unlawful detainer (eviction) unless action is necessary to protect public health and safety. No court may enter default or a default judgment in an eviction action unless necessary to protect public health and safety and defendant failed to appear. Further, all current eviction actions are being postponed (continued) for at least 60 days, so that if a defendant has appeared in the unlawful detainer 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.
Furthermore, 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.
This new rule is to remain in effect until 90 days after the Governor declares the state of emergency lifted or until the rule is amended or repealed by the Judicial Council.
- Judicial Foreclosures Suspended (Emergency Rule 2)
Additionally, under the New Emergency Rules, any actions for foreclosure, including any action for a deficiency judgment, are stayed (suspended) unless necessary to protect public health and safety. As a result, any applicable statute of limitation, the time period for which a legal action must be brought, will be tolled or delayed for the time period foreclosure actions are being suspended.
This new rule is also to remain in effect until 90 days after Governor declares the state of emergency lifted, or until the rule is amended or repealed by the Judicial Council.
Other New Emergency Rules that may be of interest to housing providers are the following:
- Statutes of Limitations for Civil Cases of Action Tolled (Emergency Rule 9): The statutes of limitations for civil causes of action have been tolled (delayed) from April 6, 2020, until 90 days after the Governor lifts the state of emergency.
- Extensions of time to bring civil actions to trial (Emergency Rule 10): For all civil actions filed on or before April 6, 2020, the time to bring the action to trial is extended by 6 months for a total time of 5 years and 6 months. For all civil actions filed on or before April 6, 2020, if a new trial is granted, the time is extended by 6 months for a total time of 3 years and 6 months.
To View the Judicial Council Emergency Rules on Evictions and Foreclosures, Please CLICK HERE.
Craig Mordoh is a sole practitioner specializing in all aspects of real estate law with an emphasis on litigation, rent control, landlord/tenant, municipal and administrative law. Mr. Mordoh holds a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University. In addition to his law practice, Mr. Mordoh serves as the General Counsel of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. You can reach Mr. Mordoh at email@example.com.