California Judicial Council Enacts De Facto Moratorium on All California Evictions

The Judicial Council is the policymaking body governing all California state courts. Headed by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, the council is responsible for the fair, consistent, and independent administration of justice in California. As such, its rules are applicable state-wide

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Judicial Council adopted multiple emergency rules applying to all California courts, including at least a 90-day delay for plaintiffs to proceed with eviction lawsuits.

How Emergency Rule 1 Delays New Evictions

The Judicial Council’s Emergency Rule 1 states no court may issue a summons in an eviction case unless the court determines that an eviction is necessary to promote public health and safety. 

While service of 3-Day Notices for non-payment of rent are not prohibited, and landlords may still file eviction lawsuits, no court will issue a summons—the legal requirement for a defendant to appear. Without a summons issued, landlords cannot require tenants to respond to their eviction lawsuits, indefinitely delaying the process. This is a de facto moratorium as very few eviction cases will be able to proceed 

Emergency Rule 1 Also Delays Pending Evictions

The Judicial Council’s action also delays pending evictions by prohibiting a default being entered against any tenant for failing to respond to a lawsuit unless the eviction is necessary to protect public health, and the defendant did not appear within the time provided by law, including executive orders.

Furthermore, if a defendant files a formal response the court may not set a trial within 60 days unless it is necessary to protect public health. 

Emergency Rule 1 to Last at Least 90 days

The Judicial Council’s emergency rules are scheduled to expire 90 days after Governor Newsom declares California’s state of emergency related to COVID-19 over, or until otherwise amended or repealed by the Judicial Council. 

You can read the full text here.

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