BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It's almost the first of April, a new month where bills are due including rent. But there are some legal protections for those who can't pay due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order earlier this month that bans the enforcement of eviction orders for renters.
Renters must submit a written notice to their landlord stating either they have lost wages, an illness related to the coronavirus or taking care of someone who is ill with the virus or have to do childcare because of school closures due to the coronavirus.
"Those tenants should absolutely tell their landlords in writing about an inability to pay," said Laura Matter, an attorney with the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance.
This eviction moratorium will give renters 60 days to respond to an unlawful detainer compared to the normal 5 court days.
In a public health news briefing on Monday, Kern County Supervisor of the 5th District, Leticia Perez addressed concerns over the eviction moratorium.
"When our courts open back up and when they do take these matters forward, which is a standard manual procedure, it will occur," said Perez. "The Governors and others are encouraging people to pay their rent and mortgage if they can.
However, Matter of the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance said the executive order doesn't address many key issues that could come later.
"It does not provide a defense to an unlawful detainer complaint, it does not address how that rent is supposed to get paid, it does not require a landlord to enter a payment plan - and it does not apply to evictions other than an inability to pay," said Matter.
This order is in effect for those who have to pay April and May rent.
The Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance provides legal assistance and resources for low-income residents of Kern County.
For more information on the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, click here.