California Judicial Council Adopts New Rules to Lower Jail Population, Suspend Evictions and Foreclosures
By Julia M. Wei, Esq.
On April 6, 2020 by teleconference, the Judicial Council issued 11 temporary rules effective immediately. The full text of the emergency rules here.
As our firm’s earlier update regarding eviction moratoriums noted, there has been movement both on the state and local government level to halt or otherwise slow the progression of evictions due to non-payment of rent for COVID-19 related reasons. The practical implications are that any unlawful detainer must be filed in the courts and now the California Rules of Court emergency rules are in effect as to ALL unlawful detainer actions (whether COVID-19 related or not). My reading of the new rules is that it applies to both commercial and residential eviction.
The summary with respect to unlawful detainer actions:
- The Court will not issue a summons for a UD unless if determines the eviction is to protect public health and safety.
- Trial dates will be set at least sixty (60) days out.
- These rules will remain in effect until ninety (90) days AFTER the Governor declares the State of Emergency lifted.
Now for the big one – foreclosures.
My trustee and loan servicer clients have been asking whether or not foreclosures are halted at the present time. The answer is yes and no.
If you are a lender seeking to file a judicial foreclosure (perhaps seeking a deficiency judgment), then YES, judicial foreclosures are halted pursuant to these April 6, 2020 Emergency Rules of Court.
So for judicial foreclosures, the Emergency Rules state:
(1) All such actions are stayed, and the court may take no action and issue no 11 decisions or judgments unless the court finds that action is required to further the public health and safety.
(2) Any statute of limitations for filing such an action is tolled.
(3) The period for electing or exercising any rights under that chapter, including exercising any right of redemption from a foreclosure sale or petitioning the court in relation to such a right, is extended.
However trustee’s sales are non-judicial and not subject to the Emergency Rules of Court. Those may proceed. If you’ve been reading about a foreclosure moratorium in California in the news, that is likely due to the Governor’s Financial Relief Package where some 200 lenders (including Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo) voluntarily agreed to press pause on their defaults. See press release here.
As always, we will continue to update our clients as the COVID-19 changes have been rolling in continuously.