San Diego County Moratorium Prohibiting Evictions and Terminations of Tenancies
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO ORDINANCE TO PROHIBIT EVICTIONS & TERMINATIONS OF TENANCIES
Please note: This is a cursory analysis of the ordinance. SCRHA may update this page as needed and as more clarification is received.
Moratorium Prohibiting Residential Evictions Without Just Cause
Just Cause” requires a showing that the Tenant is an imminent health or safety threat, as defined. “Imminent health or safety threat” is a hazard to the health or safety of other tenants or occupants of the same property, taking into account (1) the risk of potential spread of coronavirus caused by the eviction, in case of a Local Emergency due to COVID-19, (2) any public health or safety risk caused by the eviction, and (3) all other remedies available to the landlord and other occupants of the property, against the nature and degree of health and safety risk posed by the tenant’s activity. An imminent health or safety threat cannot be the Resident’s COVID-19 illness or exposure to COVID-19, whether actual or suspected.
In the absence of just cause, no Landlord may lawfully terminate a residential tenancy. If a tenant is not an imminent threat, housing providers may not:
- Serve a notice of termination of tenancy;
- File or serve an unlawful detainer lawsuit, ejectment action, or other action to recover possession of a residential unit;
- Evict a Tenant or require a Tenant to vacate a residential unit, including by seeking the entry of an eviction judgment or by causing or permitting a writ of possession to be executed, including in the case of judgments entered prior to the date of this ordinance; or
- Take any other action in reliance on a notice of termination of tenancy that expired during the Local Emergency or attempt to induce a tenant to vacate based on such a notice. Any notice of termination of tenancy served or expiring during the Local Emergency or within sixty (60) days afterward shall be deemed invalid and insufficient to support an action in unlawful detainer during the Local Emergency or at any time afterward; or
- Represent to a Tenant that the Tenant is required to move out of their unit by law.
In addition to complying with any other applicable notice requirements under local, state, or federal law, any notice of termination of tenancy served on a Tenant with respect to a residential unit during the Local Emergency and sixty (60) days afterward shall:
- Include the following statement in bold underlined 12-point font: “The Emergency Eviction Moratorium is currently in effect. Other than for failure to pay rent or an imminent health or safety threat, evictions are restricted during the Local Emergency declared by the County of San Diego]. Tenants who are being evicted for failure to pay rent may have additional protections under California law. You may contact Legal Aid Society of San Diego (1-877-534-2524) or the Legal Referral and Information Service of the San Diego County Bar Association at 619-231-8585 or 800-464-1529. For additional information and referrals or visit https://www.lassd.org .”
- Include the reason for termination amounting to just cause or a different basis for eviction authorized under this ordinance and must set forth specific facts to permit a determination of the date, place, witnesses, and circumstances concerning the reason for eviction.
- Be written in all languages that the Landlord and/or the Landlord’s agents normally use for verbal communications with the Tenant.
- In order to prevail in an action to recover possession of a residential unit, a Landlord must prove strict compliance with all applicable notice requirements or any applicable portion of this ordinance.
- SCRHA will be updating forms accordingly.
Moratorium on Residential Rent Increases
- From the effective date of this Ordinance, June 3, until July 1, 2021, no Landlord may increase a Tenant’s rent by any amount greater than the CPI for the previous year. This will not impact rent increases effective June 1 or July 1.
- "Change in CPI" means the percentage change from April 1 of the prior year to April 1 of the current year in the regional Consumer Price Index for the San Diego area, as published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (SCRHA believes this is 4.1% but is seeking clarification)
- Just cause does not include a Tenant’s failure to pay any increase in rent from the effective date of this Ordinance until July 1, 2021.
- A residential real property that is exempt from the rent limits imposed by Civil Code section 1947.12 is exempt from this section. (AB 1482 exemptions)
- This section does not apply when a unit becomes vacant and the Landlord sets the initial rent for a new tenancy for a new Tenant (Vacancy decontrol). Anti-Price Gouging rules still apply.
Right to Education, Outreach, and Organizing
No Landlord may take any adverse action against a Tenant, including increasing the Tenant’s rent, attempting to evict the Tenant, removing services provided to a Tenant, or threatening to do any of the foregoing because of any of the following reasons:
- the Tenant disseminated information about Tenant rights ordinances;
- the Tenant disseminated information about a Tenant rights organization; or
- the Tenant belonged to or participated in a Tenant rights organization.
Government Code section 8634 authorizes the Board of Supervisors to promulgate countywide orders and regulations necessary to provide for the protection of life and property during a local emergency. Pursuant to Government Code section 8634, the regulations in this ordinance shall apply to cities within the County of San Diego and unincorporated area of the county, subject to subsections (b) and (c) below.
- (b) If the governing body of a city has enacted an ordinance that has stronger protections for Tenants during the COVID-19 emergency, the Tenant may apply the city ordinance in lieu of the county ordinance, to the extent its ordinance is stronger.
- (c) To the extent the city ordinance is not stronger, the county ordinance protecting Tenants shall apply despite contrary provisions or silence on the subject in the city ordinance.
- The ordinance shall take effect 30 days after final passage, June 3, 2021.
- The ordinance is effective until 60 days after the Governor lifts all COVID-19-related stay-at-home and work-at-home orders.
- Governor Newson stated he hopes to lift those orders on June 15, meaning best case scenario this ordinance ends August 15.