Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Monday authorizing local governments to halt evictions, slow foreclosures and protect consumers from utility shutoffs during the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic.
Newsom authorized the temporary relief of rent, mortgage and utility payments to those who have had substantial loss of wages or have been laid off due to COVID-19-related concerns until May 31 of this year after recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Public Health officials temporarily closed many businesses across California.
“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” said Newsom in a press release. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices — but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them. I strongly encourage cities and counties to take up this authority to protect Californians.”
The executive order asks banks and financial institutions to stop foreclosures. The order does not relieve residents of obligatory rent payment, but instead delays the due date for those affected by COVID-19 until May 31.
The executive order also asks for the California Public Utilities Commission to implement customer service protections for critical utilities, including electric, gas, water, internet, landline telephone, and cell phone service on a weekly basis, the release said.
During a press conference held Tuesday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said the county will enact a temporary suspension on residential and commercial evictions in all unincorporated areas of the county due to nonpayment of rent and late fees, which retroactively begins March 4 and lasts until May 31. However, tenants will be required to pay rent for months unpaid after.
“The moratorium will apply to all no-fault evictions during the emergency period, unless necessary for health and safety reasons. Tenants will have six months after the end of the emergency declaration to pay the property owner for any back rent owed,” said Solis.
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