The new rule prohibits a court from issuing a summons on a complaint for unlawful detainer unless the court finds that the action is necessary to protect public health and safety. Under this rule, a landlord can file a complaint for unlawful detainer, but because the court will not issue a summons the tenant cannot be served and the case will be on hold.
Additionally, the new rule prohibits a court from entering a default or default judgment for restitution unless the action is necessary to protect public health and safety and the defendant has not appeared.
The new rule also prohibits a court from setting an unlawful detainer for trial earlier than 60 days from the date of the request for a trial date unless the earlier trial date is necessary to protect public health and safety. This supersedes the state law requirement that an unlawful detainer be set for trial within 20 days of the request. Furthermore, any unlawful detainer that has already been set for trial must be stayed at least 60 days.
The emergency rules will remain in effect until 90 days after the Governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted, or until amended or repealed by the Judicial Council.
It is important to note that even under this rule, there is no statewide moratorium on all evictions. Unlawful detainers that are necessary to protect public health and safety may still proceed. Unfortunately, the rule does not provide guidance on how to determine whether an unlawful detainer is necessary to protect public health and safety.
The Judicial Council’s emergency rules can be viewed here.
The new emergency rule offers far more protections than the Governor’s recent Order relating to evictions.