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California AB 3088 Extends Tenant Eviction Prohibition with Exception!

New law includes targeted protections for tenants to shield them from evictions due to COVID-19-related back rent through February 1, 2021. 

Extends anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights to small landlords.

Under the "new" legislation, no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021 as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020, if the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation’s timelines. For a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due to avoid eviction.

Tenants are still responsible for paying unpaid amounts to landlords, but those unpaid amounts cannot be the basis for an eviction. Landlords may begin to recover this debt on March 1, 2021, and small claims court jurisdiction is temporarily expanded to allow landlords to recover these amounts. Landlords who do not follow the court evictions process will face increased penalties under the Act.

The legislation also extends anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights to small landlords; provides new accountability and transparency provisions to protect small landlord borrowers who request CARES-compliant forbearance; and provides the borrower who is harmed by a material violation with a cause of action.

Additional legal and financial protections for tenants include:

  • Extending the notice period for nonpayment of rent from 3 to 15 days to provide tenant additional time to respond to landlord’s notice to pay rent or quit.

  • Requiring landlords to provide hardship declaration forms in a different language if rental agreement was negotiated in a different language.

  • Providing tenants a backstop if they have a good reason for failing to return the hardship declaration within 15 days.

  • Requiring landlords to provide tenants a notice detailing their rights under the Act.

  • Limiting public disclosure of eviction cases involving nonpayment of rent between March 4, 2020 – January 31, 2021.

  • Protecting tenants against being evicted for “just cause” if the landlord is shown to be really evicting the tenant for COVID-19-related nonpayment of rent.


Existing local ordinances can generally remain in place until they expire and future local action cannot undermine this Act’s framework. Nothing in the legislation affects a local jurisdiction’s ability to adopt an ordinance that requires just cause, provided it does not affect rental payments before January 31, 2021.

(excerpted from Office of Governor Gavin Newsom website dated 8/31/2020)

Evictions for just cause actions can proceed starting September 2, 2020 (e.g nuisance), but not for non-payment of rent.

It should be noted that: 

AB 3088 extends eviction protections to residential tenants who declare to their landlords, via written notice under penalty of perjury, that they have a financial hardship related to COVID-19. Hardships can range from loss of income, increased work expenses, or increased health care, child care and family care expenses caused by COVID-19. The bill protects a wide range of tenants of apartments, single family homes, duplexes, mobile homes and accessory dwelling units. Tenants who timely send their landlord a hardship declaration cannot be evicted for failing to pay rent that was due between March and August of 2020.

In addition, tenants who send the hardship declaration cannot be evicted for failing to pay rent due between September 2020 and January 2021, provided that the tenants pay at least 25% of the rent due during that period. Higher income tenants (earning $100,000/year or 130% of area median income) must provide documentation supporting their claim of hardship to be entitled to the eviction ban. It is important to note that unpaid rent is not forgiven by the legislation and remains owed to landlords. The rent can be collected as consumer debt in small claims court beginning March 1, 2021.

Commercial Evictions

AB 3088 does not apply to commercial unlawful detainers, meaning that commercial evictions can commence beginning September 2, 2020. However, locally enacted moratoriums may provide an extra layer of protection for certain commercial tenants. For example, the City of Los Angeles’ eviction moratorium, which does not expire until three months after the lifting of the local COVID-19 emergency period, prohibits evictions for commercial tenants unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, in Los Angeles, as in many California cities and counties, emergency tenant protection ordinances that apply to commercial evictions are generally limited to small businesses. Jurisdictions which have enacted similar moratoriums include the cities of Oakland, San Francisco and San Diego, as well as Alameda, Santa Clara, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. The terms of the various ordinances vary substantially, as do the respective termination dates for the eviction bans, so determining the procedural and substantive rights of the parties requires careful review of the details of these ordinances.

Excerpted from Meyer/Nave Attorneys at Law: You can read the entire article here:,commence%20beginning%20September%202%2C%202020.&text=In%20addition%2C%20some%20California%20state,including%20those%20involving%20commercial%20tenancies.

Since these are legal matters that are ever changing, it is always advised to seek legal advice pertaining to your particular situation and circumstance.


For real estate matters pertaining to the sale, purchase, or leasing of your property, we are here to serve you. Just contact us at 562-424-1300 and ask for Wayne Brown

Disclaimer: Some of the information provided on these pages were taken from various sources. First Commercial Enterprise Realty Inc. or any of its principals assumes no liability for the reliance and accuracy of the information provided herein. It is provided for informational purposes only. Clients or visitors to this website should seek independent professional legal, financial, and tax advise from their representatives and they should conduct their own due diligence before taking any action.

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