The COVID-19 outbreak has affected life all over the world. According to data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), approximately 760,000 cases of the respiratory virus have been confirmed in the state as of mid-September. Beyond being a severe public health crisis, the pandemic also poses a significant financial hardship for many individuals and businesses.
COVID-19 has major implications for landlord-tenants disputes. Whether you are involved in a commercial dispute or residential dispute, you need to know how to protect your legal rights and financial interests. Here, our Novato real estate lawyers highlight three key things that landlords and tenants should keep in mind when dealing with a dispute during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three Considerations for Landlord-Tenant Disputes During COVID-19
- Be Proactive: Early Action Will Expand Your Options
With all landlord-tenant disputes, it is important to be proactive. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is letting a problem linger. By taking swift action to address a disagreement, you will be in a better position to take advantage of all of your available options. Both landlords and tenants can benefit from a proactive approach.
In some cases, the two parties may be able to work out an amicable, effective settlement before their disagreement spirals into a deeper dispute. In other cases, quick action will make it easier to take advantage of all of your options under the law. For many reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it all the more important to address potential disputes at the earliest possible stage.
- Know Your Rights (and Responsibilities) Under State and Local Law
State and local officials have put emergency regulations in place to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords and tenants should be aware of the partial moratorium on certain types of evictions. To be clear, not all evictions are banned.
On August 31st, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that includes targeted eviction protections for tenants across California. The law prohibits eviction of tenants for late payment of certain rental obligations through February 1st, 2021. To take advantage of protections offered by state law, tenants are required to notify their landlord in writing.
Beyond California’s state regulations, many local governments have put additional COVID-19 emergency rules in place. As an example, the County of Marin currently has an eviction moratorium that runs until September 30th, 2020. Make sure you know your rights and responsibilities under municipal law.
- Pay Careful Attention to the Changing Market Conditions
Finally, landlords and tenants involved in a dispute need to pay close attention to the changing market conditions. In determining the best way to proceed with a landlord-tenant issue, you need a comprehensive of your alternative options. This is especially important during the pandemic because there have been significant disruptions.
For example, the San Francisco Business Times recently reported that the commercial vacancy rates are rising and commercial rents are falling in the city. If you are a commercial landlord or a commercial tenant in the Bay Area, shifting marketing conditions may have implications for how you should handle a dispute.
Call Our California Landlord-Tenant Lawyers for Immediate Assistance
At the Law Office of David C. Winton, our California real estate attorneys are committed to providing practical, solutions-driven representation to our clients. If you have questions about landlord-tenant disputes during the time of COVID-19, we are here to help. To set up a confidential, no commitment initial consultation, please contact us today. With offices in Novato, Nevada City, and Auburn, we are well-positioned to serve communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.