Leading the wave of states trying to keep commercial tenants afloat, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order (N-28-20) on March 16 removing state law restrictions on local government’s ability to decide whether to impose eviction limitations on commercial tenants due to non-payment of rent resulting from decreased income or increased expenses associated with COVID-19.
Los Angeles and Long Beach were early adopters of rent deferral, however, this is confusing for operators with locations across the state who must do their own legwork to determine whether specific properties are in protected cities. The terms and requirements also vary by city, from having to notify the landlord within 7 days after rent is due to notifying the landlord within 30 days after rent is due and paying a portion of the rent not attributable to COVID-19.
Snapshot of State Programs
While state-by-state rent deferral and eviction limitation plans are still a moving target, below is a sample of what a few states are doing at the publication of this article. It is important to note that these plans can change daily, so confirm all details with your local government offices, financial advisors and legal representation.
- Alaska – No eviction moratorium is in place, but the Governor did release the Alaska COVID-19 Economic Stabilization Plan.
- Arkansas – The state has made a request for disaster loans for small businesses and will allocate $12 million in block grant money and up to $4 million from the quick-action fund to provide bridge loans to help midsize companies and nonprofits.
- Colorado – There is no statewide eviction moratorium in place, but Denver’s Mayor announced that evictions are paused for now.
- Delaware – The Delaware Justice of the Peace has paused all landlord/tenant proceedings through April 16, 2020, to be rescheduled for a date no earlier than May 1, 2020.
- Florida – No statewide eviction moratorium is in place, however, evictions in Orange County (Orlando area) have been paused.
- Georgia – No statewide eviction moratorium is in place. However, the City of Decatur (within the perimeter of Atlanta where Property Works is located), is proposing an Emergency Small Business Loan Program to offer qualifying businesses no-interest or nominal-interest loans up to a $25,000.
- Hawaii – The Hawaii Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division is suspending all eviction activities.
- Illinois – The Mayor of Chicago asked all property owners to “give tenants some grace” during this period. Eviction cases will be paused until April 15, 2020.
- Iowa – The Governor has temporarily suspended some evictions. He also paused the commencement of foreclosure proceedings and the prosecution of ongoing foreclosure proceedings on residential, commercial and agricultural real property located in the state. The new rules are part of a state of public health disaster emergency plan set to expire on April 16, 2020.
- Kansas – The Governor signed an executive order for financial institutions to pause both business and residential evictions, as well as mortgage foreclosures, until May 1, 2020.
- Massachusetts – There are two bills in the House and Senate that could block landlords from charging late fees, as well as provide eviction and foreclosure moratoriums for both residential and commercial tenants. Boston’s Mayor is working with lenders and landlords to prevent loan defaults and evictions for small businesses. The city is under a state of emergency until May 4, 2020. The Boston City Council passed a non-binding resolution calling for a 90-day pause on evictions and foreclosures.
- New Hampshire – The Governor issued an executive order preventing landlords from beginning eviction proceedings for any tenant unable to pay due to the impact of the coronavirus. Foreclosures also will be frozen.
- New Mexico – The Mayor of Santa Fe has frozen both residential and commercial evictions indefinitely, as well as declared a moratorium on water shut-offs.
- New York – The Governor has enacted a 3-month suspension of all commercial and residential evictions.
- Oregon – Under the emergency order, commercial tenants who offer proof they can’t pay rent due to the pandemic cannot be formally evicted or have their lease terminated, but must make partial payments, if possible.
- Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has closed all courts and ruled that state residents cannot be evicted from their homes or businesses through April 3, 2020.
- Rhode Island – The Governor announced that state courts will not process any residential or commercial evictions for the next 30 days.
- Virginia – The Supreme Court of Virginia has suspended all new eviction cases in the state for tenants unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19 through April 6, 2020.
- Washington – Up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19.
While rent deferral programs vary, they all have one thing in common. All rent must be paid back. For example, Los Angeles tenants have 3 months to repay landlords following the COVID-19 crisis, whereas those in Long Beach have until November 30, 2020.
In addition, many municipalities are extending property tax payment deadlines, so it’s critical to track those dates as well.
If your portfolio includes locations across the country, identifying all of the rent deferral options, eviction limitations and deadline extensions can be overwhelming, especially when operating remotely with a smaller staff. If you have questions, we’re here to help. Simply contact Karla Finnegan by phone (678.704.4516) or schedule a time to talk.