Costa Mesa and Anaheim Enact Eviction Moratoriums, Irvine Advises Cooperation

Several cities in Orange County have imposed greater restrictions on landlords than Governor Newsom’s executive order to prevent evictions due to COVID-19. Realizing many tenants are without income to pay their rents, the cities’ actions generally prohibit evictions for those unable to pay the rent, so long as they meet the prerequisites. However, while evictions may be temporarily prohibited, tenants are still obligated to pay all the rent due.

Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa issued an eviction moratorium in April applying to both residential and commercial properties. The moratorium lasts until the expiration of Newsom’s executive order (currently May 31, 2020) and applies to all property within the city.

Which Evictions are Prohibited

A landlord is prohibited from seeking to evict a tenant if the following are true:

    • The tenant fails to pay rent due to a substantial decrease of household or business income (including layoffs, reduction of hours, or lack of business demand) or has substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses; and
    • The decrease in household or business income was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by a government’s response to COVID-19; and
    • The income loss and/or increased expenses are documented.

What Qualifying Tenants Must Do

To qualify, the tenant must notify the landlord in writing of their financial inability to pay rent and provide documentation within 30 days after their rent is due.

Limitations on Landlords

If a tenant meets the criteria and notifies their landlord in writing, a landlord may not serve an eviction notice, file or prosecute a court eviction action, or otherwise seek to evict the tenant.

Rent Remains Due

Nothing in the City’s ordinance relieves the tenant’s obligation to pay the rent due. A landlord may seek the overdue rent after the expiration of the ordinance, which must be repaid after 120 days unless agreed in writing. However, landlord may not charge penalties or late fees or seek past due rent through an eviction process.

The full text of Costa Mesa’s Ordinance is here


The Anaheim City Council similarly adopted eviction protection for both residential and commercial tenants. However, there are some significant differences.

Term of Moratorium

Anaheim’s ordinance has a stated termination date of May 31, 2020, but does not follow any extension of Governor Newsom’s executive order.

Which Evictions are Prohibited

A landlord is prohibited from taking steps to evict a tenant if:

    • The tenant demonstrates they are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19; and
    • The tenant, or the commercial tenant’s key personnel, was:
        • Sick with, or cared for a family member sick with, COVID-19; or
        • Laid off, lost work hours, or had other income reduction from COVID-19; or
        • Required to quarantine; or
        • Required to miss work to care for a school-age child.

What Qualifying Tenants Must Do

To take advantage of the moratorium, a tenant must notify the landlord in writing, provide verifiable documentation of the reason it cannot pay rent, and pay the portion of rent the tenancy can afford.

Rent Remains Due

Nothing in the ordinance relieves the tenant’s obligation to pay the rent. Tenants are required to repay the unpaid rent within 120 days, in four equal 30-day installments, unless otherwise agreed.

The full text of Anaheim’s ordinance is here.


Instead of issuing a moratorium, the City of Irvine “encouraged” all residential and commercial landlords to abide by Newsom’s executive order and refrain from evictions, rent increases, and utility disconnections during the COVID-19 emergency.

While Irvine specifically refrained from using its authority to impose a moratorium, it “stands ready and willing to exercise its full regulatory authority” if necessary.

Irvine’s full ordinance is here.

We will learn if Irvine’s passive approach will be effective once the Orange County Superior Court reopens to the public and begins processing eviction lawsuits.

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