COVID-19 Eviction Protection Resources and Information

The Sonoma City Council adopted a Residential and Commercial Eviction Moratorium Urgency Ordinance on May 18, 2020

Eviction ProtectionsDuring this time of shelter in place, self-isolation, and other social distancing, many individuals are experiencing substantial losses of personal or business income as a result of business closures or the loss of hours or wages or layoffs related to COVID-19, hindering their ability to pay rent and/or utility bills.

In an effort to prevent the displacement of residents and businesses through eviction for failure to pay rent or failure to pay utilities, the Sonoma City Council adopted an Urgency Eviction Moratorium Ordinance, which adopts by reference the similar Eviction Defense Ordinance approved by the County Board of Supervisors on March 24th. The City's Ordinance protects against both residential and commercial evictcions due to COVID-19 related financial hardships. It also provides a grace period for repayment of rent of up to 180 days. The ordinance does not relieve tenants from having to pay back the unpaid rent, which the property owner may seek after the termination date of the Eviction Moratorium.

The City’s Ordinance is retroactive and applies to non-payment eviction notices and unlawful detainer actions based on such notices, served or filed on or after March 12, 2020.  The City’s Ordinance was set to expire on May 31, 2020 (“Moratorium Termination Date”), concurrent with the expiration date set for the Governor’s Executive Order N-28-20, which authorized local agencies to prohibit evictions based on the non-payment of rent due the COVID-19 reasons. Under the Council’s ordinance if the Governor extended his Order N-28-20, the Council’s ordinance’s protections were automatically extended for the same period of time

On May 29, the Governor issued Executive Order N-66-20 which, among other things, extended N-28-20’s authorization for cities and counties to adopt eviction protection measures to July 28, 2020. Therefore the Eviction Moratorium Ordinance for the City of Sonoma has also been extended to July 28, 2020.

This page is intended to provide summary information only and tenants and property owners are strongly encouraged to read the full text of the Ordinance here to understand all of the applicable protections and requirements.

More information about other eviction protection measures issued by the State and County of Sonoma are provided in the Background section below. Please also see links to further information and resources that can provide assistance if you or someone you know is facing the threat of a residential or commercial eviction.


State and County Eviction Protection Measures

The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 was signed by Governor Newsom on August 31, 2020The new state law provides that residential tenants who are unable to pay rent during the COVID-19 emergency cannot be evicted for rents that became due between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021if certain requirements are met. The state law’s eviction protections apply only where the evictions are based on nonpayment of rentLearn more.

On March 16, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20, which authorizes local jurisdictions to suspend the evictions of tenants for the non-payment of rent if the non-payment is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without local protection, eviction notices for failure to pay rent are likely to surge as residents are unable to earn income due to the pandemic, or are forced to pay substantial medical expenses associated with the pandemic. On May 29, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order N-66-20 which extended N-28-20’s authorization for cities and counties to adopt eviction protection measures to July 28, 2020.

On March 24th,  2020, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Ordinance, which prevents tenants anywhere in Sonoma County from being evicted due to non-payment of rent related to financial losses due to lost work or medical expenses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. The ordinance prevents evictions for the duration of the locally-declared emergency and for 60 days after it ends to allow tenants time to make up unpaid rent. Tenants who use this defense are required to share that information with their landlord to support claims for any prospective mortgage relief. The Ordinance is available here.

On April 6th, the California Supreme Court issued an Emergency Rule related to evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency rule prevents any Court from issuing eviction summons against tenants for any reason, other than to protect public health and safety. This rule will remain in effect for 90 days after the governor lifts the state of emergency.

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