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  • Monday, September 21, 2020 1:47 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Monday, September 21st, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s latest COVID-19 numbers.  The state's coronavirus numbers trending are down.  Specifically, he reported there were 3,294 new COVID-19 cases on September 20th, with a 3,417 case average for the past week.   The positivity rate is down to 3.1 percent in the most recent 14 day period and 2.8 percent over 7 days. Hospitalizations and ICU patients continue to decline— 23 percent decrease in COVID-19  hospital admissions over the past 14 days and 25 percent decrease in COVID-19 ICU admissions over the past 14 days.  Newsom did however expressed some concern about a "twindemic" of COVID-19 and seasonal flu as he cited the positive data on lower pandemic hospitalization/ICU rates.

    Tomorrow, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly will provided an update on how counties are faring under the state’s reopening framework.  Recall, there are 4 colored tiers - widespread is purple, substantial is red, moderate is orange,  and minimal is yellow.  

    Previously, based on the last update, the California county tier status stood as follows:

    • PURPLE: 30 counties
    • RED: 17 counties
    • ORANGE: 9 counties
    • YELLOW: 2 counties

    As always, Newsom closed by imploring Californians to wear a mask, physically distance, wash their hands, and minimizing mixing.   He also previewed a Sesame Street public service announcement (PSA) featuring Oscar the Grouch encouraging children to wear masks.

    The briefing concluded at 1:10 PM PDT.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 778,400 (+0.6 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 14,987 (+0.5 percent) deaths in California.  As of September 19th, there have been 13,523,158 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.  A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts can be found here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Thursday, September 17, 2020 1:20 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Thursday, September 17, 2020

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Protect California’s Workforce Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic 

    Bills expand access to workers’ compensation and require employers to notify local officials and employees of COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace

    Watch today's worker protection bill signing here

    SACRAMENTO -- Governor Gavin Newsom today signed two bills as part of his worker protection package, SB 1159 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and AB 685 by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino). SB 1159 expands access to workers’ compensation and makes it easier for first responders, health care workers and people who test positive due to an outbreak at work to get the support they need, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. AB 685 ensures timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces. This notification will help workers take necessary precautions such as seeking testing, getting medical help or complying with quarantine directives.

    “Protecting workers is critical to slowing the spread of this virus,” said Governor Newsom. “These two laws will help California workers stay safe at work and get the support they need if they are exposed to COVID-19.”  

    “I thank the Governor, my colleagues in the Legislature, and the many stakeholders who worked with us on SB 1159 to improve the lives of the Californians who are working to keep our state, our economy and our communities operating. These workers help all of us meet the incredible challenges we face today,” said Senator Jerry Hill. “For more than 100 years, California has stood for worker safety. In signing SB 1159, Governor Newsom underscores and reinforces that commitment by ensuring vulnerable workers are not left out in the cold.”

    “In the age of Covid-19 our essential workers risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones in our fields, hospitals, grocery stores, meatpacking plants, restaurant kitchens and countless other businesses in our state,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “COVID-19 infections and deaths disproportionately affect the Latino, Black, and Asian Pacific Islander communities. Communities that make up the majority of our state’s low-wage workers. By notifying the public and workers of potential exposures as required under AB 685 we allow workers to take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their loved ones while also bolstering the response of public health officials.”

    SB 1159 (Hill) expands access to workers’ compensation by creating a rebuttable presumption for front line workers -- health care workers, firefighters and peace officers. Creating a presumption removes burdens of access to workers’ compensation for those workers who most likely got infected at work. Additionally, the bill establishes a rebuttable presumption when there is a workplace outbreak over a 14-day timeframe.

    Under AB 685 (Reyes), employers must report an outbreak to local public health officials. Employers must also report known cases to employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 within one business day. This bill strengthens Cal/OSHA’s enforcement authority by providing clear authority to close a worksite due to a COVID-19 hazard and reducing the timeframe for COVID-19 citations. 

    Governor Newsom has enacted other components of his worker protection package in recent weeks. Last week, he signed AB 1867, legislation that immediately ensured access to paid sick leave for every California employee, closing gaps in federal and state law. He also advanced significant funding for worker and employer outreach, education and enforcement activities related to COVID-19.

    This worker protection package builds on the Newsom Administration’s ongoing efforts to protect workers, among them expanded child care, access to testing and building a pipeline of personal protective equipment to help workers stay safe on the job. The Administration has also released robust workplace safety and health guidance that emphasizes masks, distancing, cleaning, hand washing, screenings and staying home if feeling sick.


  • Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:58 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 numbers.  The state's coronavirus numbers trending are down.  Specifically, he reported there were 2,950 new COVID-19 cases on September 15th, with a 3,348 case average for the past week.   The positivity rate is down to 3.6 percent in the most recent 7 day and 14 day periods. This is the lowest since May.  Hospitalizations and ICU patients continue to decline, 22 percent over the past 14 days –  2,821 hospitalizations, 875 ICU patients.  

    On reopening, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly provided an update on how counties are faring under the state’s framework.  Recall, there are 4 colored tiers - widespread is purple, substantial is red, moderate is orange,  and minimal is yellow.  

    Currently, the California county tier status stands as follows:

    • PURPLE: 30 counties
    • RED: 17
    • ORANGE: 9
    • YELLOW: 2

    ** New to the RED tier: 3 counties: Marin, Inyo, Tehama.

    Dr. Ghaly said the administration is in constant communication with counties on moving from more to less restrictive tiers. He also said he expects San Diego County to move back into PURPLE in the next few days.

    Newsom said to expect an announcement regarding theme parks and other sectors soon.  However, he did not specify when this announcement would come.

    As always, Newsom closed by imploring Californians to wear a mask, physically distance, wash their hands, and minimizing mixing.  

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked about his Employment Development Department (EDD) strike team.  The team's report is now three days late.  Newsom said the team is "just days away from making public that report."  It's almost complete, but he wants it to include responses from EDD about what it will do with the team's recommendations.

    The Governor was asked about schooling and his own children.  "I've got four kids, it's four different experiences," he said, noting that his 11-year-old has an easier time with distance learning that his younger kids. He also used this question as an opportunity to once again urge Californians to stay vigilant and remain committed to flattening the curve so all children can get back into their classrooms.

    Regarding college football, Newsom stated, “Nothing in the state guidelines denies the PAC-12 from having conference games or resuming.”

    Newsom was also asked if San Diego County should be allowed to exclude college kid COVID-19 figures.  In response, Newsom bluntly said no.  More on San Diego County, Newsom acknowledged his concern about whiplash for businesses if counties have to move back and forth between tiers. The main solution, he said, is getting the virus under control with public health measures.

    The briefing concluded at 1:05 PM PDT.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 762,963 (+0.4 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 14,615 (+1.1 percent) deaths in California.  As of September 15th, there have been 13,000,522 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.  A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts can be found here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Tuesday, September 08, 2020 1:30 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Tuesday, September 8th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 numbers, including the hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  The state's coronavirus numbers trending are down.  Specifically, he reported there were 2,676 new COVID-19 cases, with a 4,302 case average for the past week.  Hospitalizations continue to decline, which Newsom called "good progress."  There are 3,308 (0.8 percent decrease) positive COVID-19 hospital patients.  Of those patients, 1,120 patients (2.7 percent increase) are in the ICU.  Additionally, California's 2-week positive test rate is 4.3 percent.  However, because California saw significant surges in coronavirus cases following earlier holiday weekends, Newsom said the state is going to move cautiously on reopening for the next few weeks after Labor Day— "We are going to hold the line."

    On reopening, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly provided an update on how counties are faring under the state’s new framework.  Recall, there are 4 colored tiers - widespread is purple, substantial is red, moderate is orange,  and minimal is yellow.  Every Tuesday, Ghaly will announce where counties are relative to these tiers.

    Currently, the California county tier status stands as follows:

    • PURPLE: 33 counties (down from 38)
    • RED: 14 (Up from 9)
    • ORANGE: 9
    • YELLOW: 2

    ** New to the RED tier: 5 counties:  Amador, Orange, Placer, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz.

    As always, Newsom closed by imploring Californians to wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands, and minimizing mixing.  He also previewed a Sesame Street mask PSA. 

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked about how the state will manage resources as it faces wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.  In response, he said California is resilient.  Further, Newsom said our mutual aid system is second to none, the state is getting an outpouring of support from across the world.

    When asked about calls for a special session, the Governor, said the state is prioritizing immediate needs: wildfire suppression efforts, evacuations, and COVID-19.  “We continue to work 24-hour days, weekends, to address issues and balance priorities, including 400 bills on my desk that deal with a myriad of issues…We are already working this afternoon on next year’s budget.”

    Regarding a prayer gathering held at the State Capitol this past weekend, Newsom said he is in the process of receiving more details on the event.  He also stated that if organizers are going to request a permit and say they'll follow COVID-19 guidelines, they need to follow through with compliance.  "Quite literally somebody could lose their lives," Newsom said of people gathering in the thousands, not social distancing, and not wearing masks.

    The briefing concluded at 1:10 PM PDT.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 735,235 (+0.4 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 13,726 (+0.1 percent) deaths in California.  As of September 6th, there have been 12,158,292 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  This represents an increase of 111,101 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.  A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts can be found here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Friday, September 04, 2020 7:42 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Office of the Governor

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Thursday, September 3, 2020

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom Signs Executive Order in Response to COVID-19  

    SACRAMENTO -- Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order extending consumer protections against price gouging through March 4, 2021 as California continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

     

    The protections generally prohibit sellers of any kind from increasing prices on food, consumer goods, medical or emergency supplies, and certain other items by more than 10 percent.

     

    The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.

     

     

    ###

    Governor Gavin Newsom
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814


  • Wednesday, September 02, 2020 1:46 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, September 2nd, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    The Governor opened by discussing rental protections and evictions.   He noted California has the strongest eviction protections in the nation.  However, COVID-19 has impacted everyone and job losses have led to missed rent payments.   He said that up to 5.4 million renters are at risk and these individuals are disproportionately Black and Latino.  Newsom also cited research that shows that renters have seen a 50-66 percent drop in their income during the pandemic.  

    Newsom then went over new eviction protections provided for in the recently signed AB 3088 (Chiu).  Under the legislation, no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021 as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020, if the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation’s timelines.  For a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due to avoid eviction.  Newsom also highlighted protections for small property owners and homeowners including expanded Homeowner Bill of Rights and expanded borrower rights.

    Today, Newsom announced a new website (housingiskey.com) which provides guidance resources for landlords, tenants, and homeowners.  Specifically, he said the website will contain information regarding the new eviction framework and protections, as well as toolkits, legal aid resources, and FAQs.

    Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Lourdes Castro Ramírez was present at the briefing and offered remarks in both Spanish and English regarding the newly launched website.  Newsom also clarified that California's eviction protections are not affected by the federal eviction moratorium announced yesterday because California’s rules go further.  The Governor thanked the Legislature for their efforts on the newly enacted legislation.

    Newsom then spoke about California’s commitment to ending homelessness.  “Housing and homelessness are connected.  Homelessness remains our top priority and we have not taken our eye off the ball.  We came into the year with this being our top priority and we will continue to focus on it,” Newsom said.  The Governor also noted in the 2019-20 budget there was $1 billion to address homelessness.  In the 2020-21 budget, there was $1.25 billion including $628 million in emergency aid for homelessness and $600 million for Project HomeKey.  

    On Project Homekey (which comes from Project Roomkey) – Newsom said since April, the state has served over 22,000 people, placed them in 16,400 rooms in 344 hotels in 55 counties, including 3 tribes.  “I've long believed that homelessness is solved by permanent supportive housing,” he said.  The Governor is trying to make these hotel rooms, where homeless people were placed for emergency shelter during the pandemic, into permanent housing.  Newsom reiterated that he and the Legislature have approved $600 million to buy those hotels so they can be made into permanent housing.  Local governments (138 applications received from 67 jurisdictions) have applied for the money and the Newsom Administration is reviewing them.  The goal is to buy the hotels by the end of the calendar year and, thus far, the cost is tracking below original estimates.

    In closing, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 numbers, including the hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  There are 3,773 (2.0 percent decrease) positive COVID-19 hospital patients.  Of those patients, 1,197 patients (0.3 percent increase) are in the ICU.  Hospitalizations have decreased 23 percent in the two weeks.  Yesterday, there were 4,255 new COVID-19 cases, with a 4,708 case average for past week.  Additionally, California's 2-week positive test rate is 5.1 percent, Newsom reported.  The state’s 7-day average is lower at 4.4 percent. With the three-day weekend approaching, Newsom said avoiding gatherings with friends or family outside your household is "foundational," to the state's ability to keep coronavirus numbers trending down.

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked about whether he intends to call a special session to address critical issues surrounding the pandemic.  The reporter specifically mentioned broadband and connectivity issues as items left unaddressed by the Legislature.  Newsom said he's still "open" to a special session if necessary.  But that's based upon specific criteria and necessity.  He also acknowledged that lawmakers ran out of time Monday and didn't get to some bills, including SB 1120 (Atkins) related to housing.

    On unemployment and the Employment Development Department (EDD), Newsom was asked about potential fraud.  In response, he said, “We are concerned about fraud with unemployment benefits…I am working with state, local, federal authorities to weed that out.”  He also said his new team at EDD is working to address the issue.

    Additionally, Newsom was asked about how COVID-19 is going to shape the health care discourse going into the November election.  He said, “When it comes to the two candidates running for president, it's like Door A and Door Z when it comes to health care.  One wants to eliminate progress, and one helped design the Affordable Care Act.  One candidate fits the needs of this state, so we can accelerate health care reform. But whatever happens in November, California will continue to lead and be creative to work through or around whatever obstacles come in our way.”

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 707,797 (+0.5 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 13,018 (+0.7 percent) deaths in California.  As of September 1st, there have been 11,470,696 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  This represents an increase of 97,391 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.  A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts can be found here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com



  • Tuesday, September 01, 2020 3:26 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    NOTE: At this time, we do not believe this tenant eviction protection order does not extend to self storage rents. However, this does not preclude the fact that local municipalities (cities and counties) form passing their own ordinances, which may be more restrictive. We encourage you to consult your attorney. 

    ALSO: CSSA bill (AB 3364) to clean up sun-setting language in the self storage lien law has been passed and signed by the governor.

    Office of the Governor

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Monday, August 31, 2020

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom Signs Statewide COVID-19 Tenant and Landlord Protection Legislation

    New law includes targeted protections for tenants to shield them from evictions due to COVID-19-related back rent through February 1, 2021 

    Extends anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights to small landlords

    SACRAMENTO -- Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has signed legislation to protect millions of tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. These protections apply to tenants who declare an inability to pay all or part of the rent due to a COVID-related reason.

    “COVID-19 has impacted everyone in California – but some bear much more of the burden than others, especially tenants struggling to stitch together the monthly rent, and they deserve protection from eviction,” said Governor Newsom. “This new law protects tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent and helps keep homeowners out of foreclosure as a result of economic hardship caused by this terrible pandemic. California is stepping up to protect those most at-risk because of COVID-related nonpayment, but it’s just a bridge to a more permanent solution once the federal government finally recognizes its role in stabilizing the housing market. We need a real, federal commitment of significant new funding to assist struggling tenants and homeowners in California and across the nation.”

    On Friday, the Governor, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced an agreement on the legislation, AB 3088, co-authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) and Senators Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and Anna Caballero (D-Salinas).

    Under the legislation, no tenant can be evicted before February 1, 2021 as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020, if the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation's timelines. For a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due to avoid eviction.

    Tenants are still responsible for paying unpaid amounts to landlords, but those unpaid amounts cannot be the basis for an eviction. Landlords may begin to recover this debt on March 1, 2021, and small claims court jurisdiction is temporarily expanded to allow landlords to recover these amounts. Landlords who do not follow the court evictions process will face increased penalties under the Act.

    The legislation also extends anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights to small landlords; provides new accountability and transparency provisions to protect small landlord borrowers who request CARES-compliant forbearance; and provides the borrower who is harmed by a material violation with a cause of action.

    Additional legal and financial protections for tenants include:

    ·         Extending the notice period for nonpayment of rent from 3 to 15 days to provide tenant additional time to respond to landlord’s notice to pay rent or quit. 

    ·         Requiring landlords to provide hardship declaration forms in a different language if rental agreement was negotiated in a different language.

    ·         Providing tenants a backstop if they have a good reason for failing to return the hardship declaration within 15 days.

    ·         Requiring landlords to provide tenants a notice detailing their rights under the Act.

    ·         Limiting public disclosure of eviction cases involving nonpayment of rent between March 4, 2020 – January 31, 2021.

    ·         Protecting tenants against being evicted for “just cause” if the landlord is shown to be really evicting the tenant for COVID-19-related nonpayment of rent.

    Existing local ordinances can generally remain in place until they expire and future local action cannot undermine this Act’s framework. Nothing in the legislation affects a local jurisdiction’s ability to adopt an ordinance that requires just cause, provided it does not affect rental payments before January 31, 2021.

    The legislation builds on the state’s strongest-in-the-nation rent cap and eviction protections passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor last year. The Governor also signed major legislation last year to boost housing production, remove barriers to construction of accessory dwelling units and create an ongoing source of funding for borrower relief and legal aid to vulnerable homeowners and renters. Last year’s budget made a historic $1.75 billion investment in new housing and created major incentives – both sticks and carrots – to incentivize cities to approve new home construction. In the first weeks of his administration, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that created an inventory of all excess state land and has launched partnerships with California cities to develop affordable housing on that land. This year, the Governor prioritized $550 million in federal stimulus funding to purchase and rehabilitate thousands of motels around the state for use as permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness and provided an additional $350 million in general fund support to California’s cities and counties for homeless services and housing.

    Local leaders and advocates welcomed the signing of the Act:

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: "No one should lose their home due to this public health crisis -- and while cities like Los Angeles have strong tenant protections in place, there is no substitute for a clear, statewide framework that keeps hard-hit Californians under a roof. With the state legislature's action and Governor Newsom's signature, tenants and landlords can rest easier tonight, but the fight continues for every dollar in federal assistance to help struggling families survive the choppy waters of COVID-19 and navigate the economic destruction left in its wake." 

    Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated low-income families across the state and right here in the City of Sacramento. The eviction protections signed into law today will protect some of the most vulnerable – those who have lost income or suffered other unimaginable hardships in these past few months -- from falling into homelessness. I appreciate the work of the Legislature and the Governor to provide this meaningful relief.”

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed: “Protecting people from eviction has been critical from Day One of the COVID crisis, when it became clear that this pandemic was going to threaten our residents and our economies like nothing we have ever seen. People are living in fear of losing their homes because they have lost their jobs, seen their wages cut, or have been forced to close their businesses. I want to thank Governor Newsom for working with our Legislative leaders to pass AB 3088, especially our own Assemblymember David Chiu who has been an early and tireless fighter for tenants on this issue.”

    UC, Berkeley Terner Center Faculty Director Carol Galante: “California is taking a big step forward today to protect the most vulnerable tenants at this moment of acute crisis. As our research has shown, more than one million California renters households have experienced job loss during COVID-19, and this directly impacts their housing security. While today’s new laws are necessary, more must be done – and this means the Congress and the President stepping into their rightful role as provider of a meaningful renter relief package as part of the next stimulus. California deserves credit for acting, and now we must demand the Federal government follow suit.”

    The Governor also announced that he has signed the following bills: 

    ·         AB 2782 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) – Mobilehome parks: change of use: rent control.

    ·         AB 3364 by the Committee on Judiciary – Judiciary omnibus. 

    Additional information on the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act can be found here. For full text of the bills signed today, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

     

     ###


  • Tuesday, September 01, 2020 8:11 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    CEA Logo

    SPECIAL ALERT

    On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order to give employees a "payroll holiday" in the form of a 6.2% tax deferral normally paid to Social Security, for September 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. On August 28, the U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave employers more guidance on this issue, but still left many questions unanswered.

    Who Is Eligible?

    The deferral only affects workers whose biweekly pay is less than $4000, pretax. The deferral is to be implemented on a pay period by pay period basis.

    For now, this is not a forgiveness of the tax owed. Although, President Trump has promised to forgive the tax if reelected, it would require an act of Congress to forgive liability altogether.

     

    Do Employers Have to Implement the Tax Deferral?

    The IRS guidelines suggest that it is up to the employer – not the employee – to decide whether to implement the tax deferral. It is likely a voluntary decision by the employer, as the IRS guidance does not state that the deferral is mandatory.   

    If employers decide to go ahead and make any deferrals this year, those same amounts must be withheld and paid back starting on January 1, 2021, and ending on April 30, 2021. Again, the guidance issued does not indicate when or if when employers have to begin the deferral.

    What if an Employee Quits and Can’t Pay Back the Deferral?

    The guidance also provides that the employer must "withhold and pay" the deferred taxes next year and, "If necessary...make arrangements to otherwise collect the total Applicable Taxes from the employee." This implies that the employer is probably responsible to pay any deferred amount to the IRS in the event the employee fails to repay it next year. For example, this situation may arise if the employee is no longer employed by the same employer in 2021.

    Given that the IRS guidelines still leave many questions unanswered, employers should consult with their tax specialist regarding deferral.

    Read the IRS guidelines here >>





  • Friday, August 28, 2020 3:00 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Friday, August 28th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Newsom said COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, so we need to adapt.  The state has learned a lot about COVID-19 and how it spreads, he said.  In response, his Administration is adjusting its sector framework to keep California healthy and safe.

    Today, Newsom unveiled the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” which replaces the County Data Monitoring List for determining what business can and cannot open. 

    This new framework provides a 4-tiered system for tracking virus transmission in counties: widespread (purple), substantial (red), moderate (orange), minimal (yellow).  Every county is now assigned to a color tier based on its rate of new cases and positivity to determine which sectors can operate.  See additional details below depicted on the chart:

    Requirements to advance:

    • 21 day mandatory wait time between moves
    • Meet metrics for the next tier for 2 weeks
    • Counties can only move 1 tier at a time
    • Assessed weekly

    The new framework, like the previous guidelines, is based on science and reflects lessons Newsom stated.  As the state moves away from its County Data Monitoring List and into this color-coded system for reopening, here's a look at the current situation statewide:


    Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly was also present at the briefing and offered additional details on the new framework.  Notably, schools can reopen for in-person learning once the county has been in the red, moderate tier for 14 days.  He also said Californians can learn where their county stands under California's new COVID-19 tier system here: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.

    Newsom also announced new PSAs are launching and previewed them.  He also publicized some partnerships with Facebook, Yelp, Opentable, Google where businesses can now list safety precautions.

    Regarding the pandemic, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 numbers, including the hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  There are 4,205 (2.0 percent decrease) positive COVID-19 hospital patients.  Of those patients, 1,329 patients (1.5 percent decrease) are in the ICU.  The latest COVID-19 positivity rates are 6.0 percent over the last 14 days.

    In closing, the Governor did mention the Legislature’s end-of-session deadline and specifically said an agreement on evictions was reached with policymakers.  He did not offer any additional details and only noted that he is waiting for the language to go into print.  

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 683,529 (+0.7 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 12,550 (+1.2 percent) deaths in California.  As of August 22nd, there have been 10,918,415 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  This represents an increase of 85,658 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here

    On August 26th, Newsom announced that California has signed a groundbreaking contract with PerkinElmer, a diagnostics company.  The partnership will allow California to process up to an additional 150,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests a day, with a contractual turnaround time of 24-48 hours.  The goal is to stand up a laboratory facility and begin processing tens of thousands of additional tests by November 1st and run at full capacity by ­no later than March 1, 2021.  A copy of the Governor’s Office press release can be found here.

    Additionally, on August 26th, Newsom signed an executive order to assist elections officials as they prepare for the upcoming election amid the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires across the state.  The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.  A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts can be found here.


  • Thursday, August 27, 2020 9:54 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Can I Conduct Lien Sales and Charge Late Fees During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

    Joe Doherty posted on 8/25/2020 4:44:00 PM

    Lien Sales & Late Fees During the Coronavirus Pandemic

    As the coronavirus (Covid 19) has spread throughout the United States, several states and localities have enacted restrictions on foreclosures and evictions. Many of these orders that have been issued to date exclusively cover residential evictions and foreclosures. However, some states have expanded those restrictions to cover commercial or non-residential evictions and foreclosures as well. Some of the commercial / non-residential eviction or foreclosure moratoriums may prevent operators from conducting self storage liens sales, performing overlocks, or imposing late fees.

    Although self storage lien sales are not evictions in the usual sense of that word, SSA urges all operators to exercise great caution if they operate in an area covered by a moratorium on commercial or non-residential evictions or foreclosures.

    First, self storage lien sales are a form of non-judicial foreclosure. Therefore, an order that imposes a foreclosure moratorium may apply to self storage lien sales. Second, the overall intent of many government restrictions at this time is to keep people at home as much as possible. It arguably frustrates the intent of the orders if a landlord creates a situation that forces a tenant to leave home for a non-essential purpose. Third, the orders are often hastily drafted and vague and do not define the term “eviction”, “foreclosure”, or other key terms in the orders. The overall intent, coupled with the vague wording, indicates that the term “eviction” or “foreclosure” is meant to cover any unilateral action by an operator that terminates a rental agreement. This certainly covers lien sales, even if the primary purpose of a lien sale is to recover unpaid rents.

    The sheer volume or orders, especially from local governments, makes it difficult to provide a comprehensive list of jurisdictions that have enacted eviction or foreclosure moratoriums. Additionally, in the interest of space, we did not include local orders that affect only residential evictions or lawsuits filed to evict a tenant.

    We intend to update this document frequently to include new orders and previous orders we missed. Please email Daniel Bryant and Joe Doherty if you believe any orders are missing.

    California 

    • Governor issued an order, issuing a statewide moratorium on residential evictions. 
    • Governor also issued an executive order and a subsequent extension that authorizes local governments to pause evictions for residential and commercial tenants. The protection is in effect through September 30, 2020.
    • Pursuant to the Governor’s order, tenants are still obligated to pay rent, and landlords can still recover rent that is due. The order only applies to the imposition of limitations on evictions when the basis for the eviction is nonpayment of rent, or a foreclosure, arising out of a substantial decrease in household or business income (including, but not limited to, a substantial decrease in household income caused by layoffs or a reduction in the number of compensable hours of work, or a substantial decrease in business income caused by a reduction in opening hours or consumer  demand), or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses; and the decrease in household or business income or the out-of-pocket medical expenses was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented.
    • In other words, the statewide order limits local governments to protecting tenants that provide a COVID-19 related reason for non-payment. If the tenant does not provide such a reason, a California operator can likely proceed with the lien process against that tenant. However, operators should carefully review the local orders linked to below to determine the exact protections available to tenants in the jurisdictions where the operator does business.
    • Commercial evictions and commercial and residential foreclosures are suspended only as set forth by local governments. Some of the local orders provide protections past the statewide date of September 30, 2020. A complete list of California orders can be found here.

    Livermore, CA 

    • The Director of Emergency Services issued an order stating that “no landlord or lessor shall endeavor to evict a commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent, limit their physical access to personal property or conduct lien sales, including but not limited to any such provisions under.... Business and Professions Code section 21700 et seq., if the tenant or lessee demonstrates that the inability to pay rent is due to, or arising out of, a substantial decrease in business income or substantial out of pocket medical expense, or extraordinary child care needs, any of which was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented in writing.”
    • A landlord who knows that a tenant cannot pay some or all of the rent temporarily for the reasons set forth above shall not serve a notice pursuant to . . . Business and Professions Code section 21703 as applicable, . . . conduct a lien sale, or otherwise seek to evict or terminate a rental agreement for nonpayment of rent during the period of the local emergency and while this Order is in place.
    • A landlord is presumed to know of a tenant’s inability to pay rent within the meaning of this Order if the tenant or mobile homeowner, within 30 days after the date that rent is due, notifies the landlord in writing of tenant’s inability to pay full rent because of a substantial decrease in business income, or out of pocket medical expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or extraordinary child care needs, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and provides documentation to support the claim. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence and only used for evaluating the tenant’s claim.
    • A landlord is also prohibited from retaliating against a tenant that qualifies for the protections set forth in this order during the term of the moratorium. For example, a landlord, and any of the landlord’s employees or agents, is prohibited from terminating utilities or blocking physical access to personal property to a qualified tenant protected by this moratorium.
    • The order remains in effect until September 30.

    City of Los Angeles, CA 

    • The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring self storage owners to defer rent if a tenant is unable to pay for a COVID-related reason and provides documentation to the owner no later than seven days after the rent is due.
    • The deferral lasts until three months after the local emergency period.
    • The ordinance prohibits late fees on deferred rent.
    • The ordinance also requires that owners provide notice of the ordinance to their tenants.
    • Owners in Los Angeles are strongly encouraged to consult with legal counsel before proceeding with lockouts or lien sales. 

    Los Angeles County, CA 

    • The Board of Supervisors ratified an Executive Order stating that no residential or commercial property owner shall evict a residential or commercial tenant for: (1) nonpayment of rent, late charges, or any other fees accrued if the Tenant demonstrates an inability to pay rent and/or related charges due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, the state of emergency regarding COVID-19, or following government-recommended COVID-19 precautions, and the Tenant has provided notice to the Landlord within seven (7) days after the date that rent was due, unless extenuating circumstances exist, that the Tenant is unable to pay; or (2) reasons amounting to a no-fault eviction under the County Code, unless necessary for health and safety reasons.
    • The order defines “no-fault  eviction” as  any eviction for which the notice to terminate  tenancy  is not based on alleged fault  by  the  Tenant,  including but not  limited  to,  eviction  notices  served pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1161 et seq. or County Code.
    • The Board later amended the Executive Order to cover the unincorporated areas of L.A. County and the incorporated cities without a local eviction moratorium.
    • The amended order prohibits a landlord from charging late fees on unpaid rent.
    • The amended order also states that “a commercial tenant includes, but is not limited to, a tenant using a property as a storage facility for commercial purposes.”
    • The order provides tenants with 12 months after the expiration of the order to repay their unpaid rent.
    • The L.A. Count order, as amended, may affect lien sales and late fees, particularly as applied to business tenants. Consultation with your legal counsel is strongly advised before proceeding with any lien activity.

    Ontario, CA

    §  The City Council ordered that no landlord shall endeavor to evict a storage unit patron (including a lien sale), in accordance with the ordinance, if the storage unit patron demonstrates that the inability to pay rent or fees is due to COVID-19, the state of emergency regarding COVID-19, or following government recommended COVID-19 precautions. To take advantage of these protections, the patron must satisfy all of the following requirements: 

    1.       Prior to April 7, the patron paid rent due to the storage unit operator pursuant to an agreement. 

    2.       The patron notifies the storage unit operator in writing before the rent is due, or within a reasonable period of time afterwards not to exceed 7 days, that the patron needs to delay all or some payment of rent because of an inability to pay the full amount due to reasons related to COVID-19, including but not limited to the following: 

    • ·         The patron was unavailable to work because the patron was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19;
    • ·         The patron experienced a lay-off, loss of hours, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19, the state of emergency, or related government response; orThe patron needed to miss work to care for a child whose school was closed in response to COVID-19. 

    3.       The patron retains verifiable documentation, such as termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining the patron’s changed financial circumstances, to support the patron’s assertion of an inability to pay. This documentation may be provided to the storage unit operator no later than the time of payment of back-due rent. 

    §  If a storage unit patron complies with the requirements above, a storage unit operator shall not do any of the following: 

    1.       Prevent a storage unit patron from accessing their stored items during the normal hours of operation of the storage unit facility; or 

    2.       Send to the storage unit patron a Notice of Lien Sale pursuant to Business and Professions Code, Division 8, Chapter 10, or any other applicable statute regulating storage unit operators. 

    3.     Conduct a Lien Sale pursuant to Business and Professions Code, Division 8, Chapter 10, or any other applicable statute regulating storage unit operators. 

    §  For purposes of this ordinance, “in writing” includes email or text communications to a landlord or the landlord’s representative with whom the tenant has previously corresponded by email or text. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence, and only used for evaluating the tenant's claim. 

    §  The patron is not relieved of liability for unpaid storage fees, which the operator may seek after expiration of the local emergency and the patron must pay within six months of the expiration of the local emergency. Six months after the end of the emergency if the rent or storage fees are unpaid, an operator may charge or collect a late fee for rent/fees that is delayed for the reasons stated in the ordinance; or an operator may seek rent or storage fees that is delayed for the reasons stated in the ordinance through the eviction or other appropriate legal process.

    §  The order remains in effect until further notice.

    Pasadena, CA

    • City Council passed an ordinance stating that “no landlord shall endeavor to evict a commercial tenant for non-payment of rent if a commercial tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.”
    • “Tenant” means a person, partnership, corporation, family trust or other business entity entitled by a written or oral agreement to occupy a rental unit to the exclusion of others, and actually occupy said rental unit for residential or commercial purposes (including, but not limited to, a self-storage facility, as defined by Pasadena Municipal Code Section 17.80.020).
    • The Pasadena Municipal Code defines self-storage as “a structure containing separate storage space that is designed to be leased or rented individually in an enclosed building. This use does not include outdoor storage or recreational vehicles, boats, personal watercraft, motorcycles, or trailers.”
    • A landlord shall give written notice of the protections afforded by this ordinance to each tenant no later than 30 days after its effective date. In lieu of providing written notice to each tenant's rental unit, a landlord may conspicuously post and prominently display such notice in the common areas of the property during the pendency of this local emergency.
    • A landlord knows of a tenant’s inability to pay rent if the tenant, within 30 days after the date that rent is due, notifies the landlord in writing of lost income and inability to pay full rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, and provides documentation to support the claim. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence, and only used for evaluating the tenant's claim.
    • The tenant must pay any unpaid rent within six months after the local state of emergency ends.
    • The landlord cannot charge late fees, deny a tenant access to the premises, or move or convert the tenant’s possessions.


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