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Judicial Council Emergency Order Halts Evictions

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The Judicial Council of California, acting under broad authority granted by Governor Newsom, halted all eviction lawsuits — otherwise known as “unlawful detainer” lawsuits — statewide. The Council’s emergency order:

  • Prohibits any summons for unlawful detainer, even if a complaint had already been filed.
  • Prohibits any default judgment, even where the tenant remains in the property.
  • Postpones all trials for 60 days from the initial date of trial. No trial may be set any earlier than 60 days after the request for a trial is made.

The emergency order remains in effect for at least 90 days after the governor lifts the state of emergency — declared by Governor Newsom on March 4, 2020 — or until amended by the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council order will likely be in effect through August. 

Even prior to the passing of this new order, most courts across the state were refusing to accept unlawful detainer filings or were postponing trials for those that had already been filed. In most cases, even when a landlord had a court order for possession in hand, sheriff’s offices have not been performing lock-outs. Additionally, the CARES Act, as well as state and city ordinances, had already put into place a host of eviction moratoria for nonpayment of rent. For more information, see our FAQ on Financial Resources for Rental Property Owners and our Q&A on COVID-19 Landlord Issues.

The Council’s order also suspends all judicial foreclosures for the same period of time. However, judicial foreclosure actions are fairly exceptional, and nearly all foreclosures take place by trustee’s sale as non-judicial foreclosures, which are not impacted by this order.

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