At the regular meeting of the Mammoth Lakes Town Council last week on April 15, Council adopted an urgency ordinance enacting a moratorium on evictions for tenants who have a substantial loss of income due to COVID-19.
Previously, the Town Council had voted to limit evictions of tenants in commercial buildings due to any circumstances related to COVID-19. At that time, a specific ordinance limiting evictions from residential properties was not pursued due Governor Newsom’s executive order which accomplished the same intent, although through different means.
The new ordinance is effective immediately, through June 1, 2020. Renters must demonstrate through documentation or other objectively verifiable means that the inability to pay rent is due to substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses related to COVID-19 or substantial loss of income due to any of the following:
- The tenant is or was sick with COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who is or was sick with COVID-19;
- The tenant experienced a lay-off, loss of hours, substantial decrease in business income caused by a reduction in the opening hours or consumer demand, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19 or the state of emergency;
- The tenant’s compliance with a recommendation from a government agency to stay home, self-quarantine, or avoid congregating with others during the state of emergency; or
- The tenant’s need to miss work to care for a home-bound school-age child.
In order for the protections afforded under this ordinance to be applicable, a tenant must do all of the following:
- Notify the property owner or the owner’s agent in writing that they are unable to pay some or all of the rent due for one or more of the eligible reasons;
- Provide the property owner or the owner’s agent with verifiable documentation or other proof to support the assertion that they are unable to pay some or all of the rent due for one or more of the eligible reasons, within thirty (30) days of the day the rent is due;
- Notify the property owner or the owner’s agent that they are asserting the rights granted by this ordinance; and
- Pay the full amount of rent otherwise due, less the amount that is unavailable to the tenant for one or more of the eligible reasons.
The ordinance does not relieve a tenant of the obligation to pay rent, nor restrict a property owner’s ability to recover rental payments after May 31, 2020. A tenant must pay any rent that was unpaid or delayed for reasons stated in this ordinance as soon as possible, but in no event later than September 28, 2020.