Ended on September 1, 2023
The Eviction Moratorium ended on September 1, 2023. Any unpaid rent between March 17, 2020 and August 31, 2023 cannot be the basis of an eviction.
There were two periods of time covered by the city's Eviction Moratorium:
1. "Covered Period" is from March 17, 2020, to April 30, 2023. Tenants who did not pay rent and could establish they had a Covered Reason for Delayed Payment can never be evicted for non-payment of rent accumulated during the total time of the moratorium (March 17, 2020, to August 31, 2023).
2. "Transition Period" is from May 1, 2023, to August 31, 2023. Notices for a demand for rent during this period had to of been issued with accompanying Tenant Declaration of COVID-Related Distress Form.
Q: What evictions can start on September 1, 2023?
A: All evictions covered under "Good Causes for Eviction" in the Rent Stabilization Ordinance may resume, including Owner Move Ins and Ellis Act evictions. Exempt properties may also now resume evictions or terminations of lease.
Q: What are the "Covered Reasons for Delayed Payment" of rent?
A: Valid reasons as defined in the law are:
- Decrease in household income caused by layoffs;
- Reduction in the number of compensable hours of work, or to caregiving responsibilities, or a material decrease in business income caused by a reduction in opening hours or consumer demand;
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- Reduction in the number of tenants living in the unit (including due to difficulty finding new tenants and/or subtenants willing and able to cover a sufficient share of the rent), which reduces the ability of the remaining tenants to pay rent;
- Or a rent increase that exceeds the Annual General Adjustment for the current year.
Q: How long does a tenant have to pay back any rent that was deferred?
A: Any unpaid rent is deferred and not forgiven. For rent not paid up and to August 31, 2023, you can go to small claims court to attempt recovery of the rent debt. If you receive a judgment, you may proceed to collection actions. However, you are limited on the number of cases you may file in a year, and you may only file a maximum of $10,000 per tenant (even if they owe you more than $10,000). That is for any debt that was unpaid from September 30 , 2021 forward. Alternatively, you may sue the tenant in Civil court but you will need legal representation to do so. There is no limit on Civil court claims amounts.
Q: How can I get my tenant to pay back the rent they owe me?
A: You should first make certain you have made proper notification and demands for repayment. You may want to consider offering your tenant a repayment plan if you believe the tenant has all good intentions to repay the deferred rent. However, it may require a more serious court action (such as small claims) before the tenant makes attempts to repay. Ultimately, your only course of action is through a small claims case or a civil court action.
Q: When can I evict my tenant for nonpayment of rent if they never pay it back?
You cannot evict for non-payment of rent accrued between March 2020 and April 2023. For unpaid rent that accrued from May 1, 2023, to August 31, 2023, if a tenant did not provide documentation of a COVID-related reason for non-payment, or you believe your tenant did not have a Covered Reason for delayed payment, we recommend obtaining legal counsel if you seek to recover rent and/or possession of the unit.
Q: What if my tenant is still not paying rent on September 1, 2023?
A: Your best course of action will be to engage with an attorney to serve a standard nonpayment of rent notice and if necessary, move towards an Unlawful Detainer.
Q: Can I serve a Pay or Quit notice to my tenant?
A: Due to the complicated nature of the law and the specific requirements of Berkeley, we do not recommend in pro per (self-service) evictions - including a 3-day Pay or Quit notice. See below for a link to attorney referrals.