The City of Santa Monica (the “City”) issued a supplement to the local emergency proclamation that places a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent by residential tenants impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The order, signed by City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Rick Cole, is effective immediately. During the period of local emergency declared in response to COVID-19, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, including (1) being sick with COVID-19, or caring for a household or family member who is sick with COVID-19; (2) lay-off, loss of hours, or other income reduction resulting from business closure or other economic or employer impacts of COVID-19; (3) compliance with a recommendation from a government health authority to stay home, self-quarantine, or avoid congregating with others during the state of emergency; (4) extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses; or (5) child care needs arising from school closures related to COVID-19. A landlord also cannot pursue a no-fault eviction unless necessary for the health and safety of tenants, neighbors, or the landlord.
The order also suspends the discontinuation or shut off of water service for residents and businesses in the City for non-payment of water and sewer bills; the imposition of late payment penalties or fees for delinquent water and/or sewer bills; and the imposition of late payment penalties or fees for parking violations for the next 60 days.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Santa Monica will continue to enact policy changes that will ensure that our residents can weather this crisis”, said City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Rick Cole. “Our community is over 70% renters and this order provides our them the security of housing during this difficult time. We recognize that the vast majority of landlords will act responsibly, but this order serves to ensure no renter loses their home due to a crisis beyond their control. Everyone needs to feel safe to stay home if they are sick, care for sick loved ones, and have access to essential services.”
These local orders follow President Trump’s national emergency declaration earlier today where it was announced that $50 billion in emergency funding would be made available to assist state and local governments in preventing the spread of and addressing the effects of COVID-19.
Local emergencies can be declared by the City Manager, with ratification by the City Council within seven days. The local emergency is now in effect and will be confirmed by the City Council before March 20, 2020.