Additional Important Information for Renters Regarding Rent Payments

The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office has updated its guidance for renters in Santa Monica during the coronavirus (COVID-19) state of emergency. The City Attorney’s YouTube video providing that updated guidance is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjxJ-oYPUhU.

This updated guidance was issued following Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order issued on Friday, March 27, regarding evictions in the State of California.

The City Attorney’s video is intended to answer questions that renters may have about rent payments, whether or not the renter is affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis. You should watch the video, and also review the full information provided or linked in SMRR’s prior post, but some highlights include:

[UNCHANGED] The moratorium applies to renters who can show that they are unable to pay their rent payment due to the financial impact on them of the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis. If you have not become unable to pay rent because of the crisis you are still required to pay rent on time.

[NEW] As a first step, tenants seeking protection under the moratorium should provide written notice to their landlords right away, and in no event later than seven days after the rent is due, that they have lost income due to COVID-19 and are unable to pay all or some of their rent as a result. The City has a form on its website that tenants can use at this link: Notice To Landlord Form (SMRR recommends that tenants keep copies of the notice they share with their landlord to be able to prove that such information was delivered to the landlord.)

[UNCHANGED] As a second step, tenants seeking protection under the moratorium should begin collecting information about their inability to pay as soon as possible and present it to their landlords. The form on the City’s website can be used for this second step as well. (SMRR recommends that tenants keep a copy the documentation they share with their landlord to be able to prove that such information was delivered to the landlord.)

[UNCHANGED] Renters must be aware that the City’s order means that rent is not permanently waived, just temporarily deferred, if you are not able to make all or some of your rent payment due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis.

[UNCHANGED] When the moratorium ends, landlords may seek unpaid rent – i.e., past due rent that was not paid during the moratorium – from the tenant within six months after the end of the moratorium.

[UNCHANGED] The moratorium is now extended through May 31, 2020.Although SMRR cannot provide any legal advice, SMRR volunteer hotliners are available to help answer questions you might have. The SMRR Tenant Hotline number is 310-394-0848. SMRR will continue to be there for you if you have questions about your tenancy in Santa Monica.

Discussions continue at all levels of government regarding the potential to further improve renter protections during the current emergency. We are staying closely connected with local leaders and our renters’ rights allies during these times of uncertainty to help renters in any way that we can. We are continuously advocating to ensure that any modified or new tenant protections are as safe and secure as they can be for Santa Monica renters. Our top priority is the health and safety of Santa Monicans and their homes. We will continue to share new information with you by email and on our website.

We want you to stay safe and healthy and obtain the resources you need during our local emergency. Please forward this email to your neighbors and other residents of Santa Monica. We’re here for you.

The SMRR Team thanks you for your support.

www.smrr.org

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