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Gavin Newsom
Governor Gavin Newsom. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Evictions Can be Halted Under Governor Newsom’s New Executive Order

Utilities would also be kept operating for duration of pandemic

By Evan Symon, March 17, 2020 4:34 pm

In Sacramento on Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new executive order that will allow local jurisdictions to temporarily stop evictions, as well as having utilities continue operating for the duration of the pandemic.

Newsom’s executive order comes after questions over whether cities across California can temporarily suspend evictions due to non-payments by tenants who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Cities such as Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco have all either totally or partially suspended evictions in the city. According to Newsom, his executive order clears any “legal ambiguity” over the cities actions.

Newsom also said that utilities are also now accountable to remain open, fortifying the promise that most electric, gas, water, and internet providers gave to remain operating during the crisis.

“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Newsom said in a press release. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices. But a place to live shouldn’t be one of them. I strongly encourage cities and counties take up this authority to protect Californians.”

Across the state, temporary eviction moratoriums are on the rise. San Jose recently also enacted a moratorium, with many smaller cities and suburbs also now demanding eviction halts and the stoppage of utility shutoffs.

“People are scared,” said Stockton attorney Luis Giles. “A lot of people were demanding to not have evictions for awhile simply because so many people lost their jobs. It’s a scary time for them. They said they might announce it here in Stockton later today [Tuesday March, 17th], and me and a lot of my clients can only hope so.”

Assemblyman Philip Y. Ting who introduced AB 1215.
Assemblyman Philip Y. Ting. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) have also been working in their respective houses since last week to bring forth temporary eviction stops statewide for both residential and commercial properties respectively.

“Before the coronavirus, homelessness was the thing people were talking about,” noted Assemblyman Ting in a statement. “The last thing we want is the virus to exacerbate the problem.”

The Governor’s new executive order follows several other executive orders and decrees in the last week that would fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including the state being allowed to take over hotels as temporary coronavirus hospitals and a ban on large gatherings in the state.

While the Governor’s newest executive order is only temporary, with the moratorium having an end date of May 21st, all rent not paid during the moratorium will still need paid.

California currently has 392 coronavirus cases with 8 deaths. Nationwide the United States currently has: Total cases: 4,226, Total deaths: 75, according to the Center for Disease Control, updated March 17.

Evan Symon
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