On March 4, 2020, Governor Gavin Newson of California released THE Executive Order N-37-20 with the aim of minimizing evictions during this critical time in California. Among other things, it seeks to protect residents who may be unable to pay their rent as a result of the economic effects of the pandemic.

While Executive Order N-37-20 does not imply rent forgiveness, it protects residents from possible evictions and extends the deadline for served tenants for a period of 60 days. It does not relieve a tenant’s liability for unpaid rent. All it does is protect affected tenants from the possibility of eviction, pending the return to normalcy when COVID-19 must have been contained.

There are several important conditions attached to this order, these include:

  • This Executive order only applies to tenants that have directly taken a financial hit as a result of COVID-19
  • Tenants must have been paying their due rent prior to the pandemic and its economic effects
  • Tenants must notify the landlord in writing before the due date, or within seven days afterward, of their inability to pay all or part of the rent
  • Tenants must have substantial reason relating to COVID-19 why they are unable to meet up with their rent obligation (the reason could be sickness, caring for a sick person, loss of work hours, lay off, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19)
  • Tenants must retain verifiable documents that proof changes in financial circumstances and should present the same to the landlord once rent is due.

Governor Newson’s Executive Order N-37-20 is clearly aimed at protecting affected Californians from evictions during the coronavirus crisis. It is tailored to protect genuine rent-paying tenants who can no longer meet their rent obligations because of COVID-19. The provisions of the order shall be in effect through May 31, 2020.