Landlords - Protection Guidelines
Tenants in California have protections from eviction under state and federal law, as well as under local laws in some cities and counties. This page describes protections under two new state laws: the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (AB 3088), which took effect on August 31, 2020; and the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (SB 91), which took effect on February 1, 2021. These laws protect tenants with a COVID-related financial impact from eviction for nonpayment of rent. They also protect tenants from "no cause" evictions, meaning an eviction where the landlord does not state a reason. SB 91 also makes available financial assistance to qualified landlords and tenants for a tenant’s unpaid rent during the 13-month period between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. However, depending on your specific circumstances and where you live, your tenants may have other protections from eviction that you must comply with. You should speak with a lawyer to find out what rules apply to your specific situation.
We understand that many homeowners and landlords have suffered a loss of income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners may have lost all or part of their income because they lost their jobs, had their work hours cut, or had to take time off from work to care for family members.
Many landlords have also felt the impact of the pandemic, as tenants became unable to pay all or part of their rents.
Two new laws – Two new laws – AB 3088 and SB 91 provide some relief.
These laws apply to homeowners and landlords with four (4) or fewer properties, whether those properties are owner-occupied or not, and who have had difficulty making mortgage payments because of COVID-19.
Homeowner and small landlords should contact their mortgage servicer – the company they send their mortgage payment to – for options that may be available. Financial institutions are required by federal law to know what entity owns the mortgage loans they service. When you contact your servicer to request payment relief, you should ask whether your mortgage is federally-backed (owned or guaranteed by a federal mortgage agency such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration, or the Veterans Administration) or non-federally-backed.
If you have a federally-backed mortgage, you can request forbearance pursuant to the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) to help you avoid becoming delinquent on your mortgage.
If you have a non-federally-backed mortgage, you can also contact your servicer requesting forbearance along with other options that may be available to you.
For all mortgages, whether federally-backed or not, your servicer must provide you with a detailed description explaining why the forbearance request was denied, stating the exact reasons for the denial.
If the servicer’s explanation identifies missing information or errors in the request, you then have 21 days to update and correct these issues.
Additional homeowner protections and lender requirements before a bank can file a notice of default on your mortgage include:
The ability for you to contest either the 30-day contact or the forbearance denial notice. (The 30-day contact refers to the minimum 30 days a lender must wait after contacting a borrower to seek payment before filing a Notice of Default.)
A requirement for lenders to file the forbearance denial notice along with the required declaration of borrower contact when recording a notice of default.
The right for homeowners or small landlords to file a cause of action (lawsuit) if their lender harms them by violating the law.
If you believe your lender has harmed you by violating the law, you should consult with an attorney. If you need low- or no-cost legal help, visit www.lawhelpca.org and/or https://housing.ca.gov/resources/tenant.html for additional resources.