Is your April rent “CoVid-Blocked?” Time to deal with your landlord!




Stressing out over your rent this month, worried about getting evicted?  Don’t feel too bad, millions of Americans are in the same situation right now.  You gotta take care of this right, though, you’ve got about a week to cover all your bases.  So hang out here for a little bit and we’ll tell you what we know.

FIRST, a couple weeks ago California Governor Newsom (NOT “Newsome” as every Republican seems to spell it) issued an executive order ALLOWING CITIES AND COUNTIES to stop landlords from kicking out tenants who miss their next rent payment.  But what cities and counties felt like doing that?  Here in Orange County we expect very little from our County Board of Supervisors or our City Councils, and hopefully that will change in the future.  However a FEW of our city councils took a little action:

  • First to act was Santa Ana, on March 19.  Under the SA ordinance you can’t be evicted if you give your landlord notice, within 30 days after rent is due (BUT BE SAFE AND MAKE THAT SEVEN DAYS, SEE BELOW) that you can’t pay full rent due to “financial impacts from COVID-19, along with documentation to support that claim.”  When the crisis is over, in Santa Ana, you’ll have SIX MONTHS to pay off your late rent, and can’t be charged a late fee.  
  • Next came Anaheim, with a slightly less renter-friendly ordinance, modeled on the City of Sacramento’s ordinance and endorsed by landlord associations.  In the sometime “City of Kindness,” you’ll have to give notice and proof of inability to pay by A DAY BEFORE RENT IS DUE.  So ideally you shoulda done it by today – (but SEE BELOW, you’ll probably be okay till April 7 thanks to the governor.)  Anaheim provides sample FORMS you can use for your landlord (click here) and when the crisis is over you will have FOUR MONTHS to pay off your late rent, in four installments.  (Councilman Jose Moreno tried unsuccessfully to get that extended to six months, like Santa Ana.)
  • Costa Mesa acted on the same day as Anaheim.  Like in Santa Ana, CM residents have 30 days to notify & give proof (but again make that 7 days see below), and like in Anaheim they’ll have FOUR MONTHS to pay it all off later.  (And like Anaheim’s Moreno, CM Mayor Katrina Foley tried unsuccessfully to make that 6 months.)
  • Irvine was utterly useless.  Every councilmember there except Melissa Fox is a bought-and-paid-for puppet of the all-powerful landowner Irvine Company, so all they could manage to do was pass a toothless resolution asking pretty-please landlords not to evict people for a while.  (Melissa tried to put teeth into that but got only abuse for her efforts.)  
  • Governor Newsom’s Order this Past Monday (March 27) improves things somewhat – it forbids landlords from evicting you in April and May, if you provide documentation within seven days – April 7 – so that’s an improvement of eight days for Anaheim renters.  However it says nothing about what a mean landlord could do to you in June, and it doesn’t provide you 4 months (like Anaheim or Costa Mesa) or 6 months (like Santa Ana or Fullerton) to pay off your back rent.  So, if Newsom doesn’t address that defect by June, it looks like (in OC) only Anaheim, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa or Fullerton residents are protected (by their city councils) from being thrown out on the street over their back rent.  The rest of you renters better get on your councils’ asses!

Too Much Info!  Summarize…

So, to summarize, all of you OC renters who can’t afford your full April rent should let your landlord know by next Tuesday the 7th, and provide some kind of documentation.  (Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, and Fullerton renters could maybe fiddle-faddle till the end of the month, but it’s best to be protected by both the state AND your city and do it by the 7th.)  You could throw something together based on the sample form Anaheim provides.

There’s two good reasons to “pay what you can,” and come to an agreement with your landlord on what that might be.  First, that’s written into most of these ordinances, and secondly then you won’t have so much to catch up  with in the summer and the fall.

Next, remember that you’ll have six months in the summer/fall to pay off your back rent if you live in Santa Ana or Fullerton, four months if you’re in Costa Mesa or Anaheim.  If you’re in any other city, you’d better bug your City Council to do something to protect you in the summer/fall, and/or cross your fingers that the Governor does something about this, or you COULD get evicted in June for not paying your full April and May rents!

Finally make sure you follow all these rules, get everything in writing and keep copies!  Our in-house eviction lawyer, who’s dealt with the worst of the worst, never tires of reminding us that landlords who want to evict no matter what always have good lawyers, while you probably don’t.

Good luck and we’ll keep you abreast of any new developments!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.