In response to a Washington State Court of Appeals decision issued late last year, the California Apartment Association has revised its CARES Act termination notice forms to provide tenants 30 days to either cure their nonpayment violation or quit.
Previously, CAA’s forms mandated that tenants resolve their nonpayment default within three days or vacate within 30 days.
Enacted at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal CARES Act implemented a temporary moratorium on eviction filings for residential properties financed by federally backed mortgage loans or participating in federal affordable housing programs. Although most provisions of the CARES Act expired on July 31, 2020, the requirement for landlords of properties covered by the act to give tenants at least 30 days’ notice to vacate remains in effect.
Section 4024 of the CARES Act prohibits landlords from requiring tenants to vacate “before the date that is 30 days after the date … that the landlord provides the tenant with a notice to vacate.” This prohibition applies only when a tenant fails to pay rent or other fees or charges due under their tenancy agreement.
While the CARES Act doesn’t specify whether this 30-day notice requirement applies to a notice to pay rent (or other fees and charges other than rent) or quit, the plain language of the law (referring to a “notice to vacate”) suggests a shorter period to cure a violation to preserve the tenancy (e.g., three days) may be permissible as long as the resident isn’t required to vacate the premises in less than 30 days from the date the notice to vacate is provided to the tenant.
The Washington State Court of Appeals decision interpreted the CARES Act as requiring landlords to provide tenants a 30-day notice to both cure their violation or quit possession of the premises. Although this decision isn’t binding on courts in other states, California Superior Court judges presiding over unlawful detainer actions commenced by landlords subject to the CARES Act may view the Washington State decision as persuasive. CAA amended its CARES Act termination notice forms as a cautionary measure.
The recently amended CARES Act termination notices for nonpayment include:
- CA-421 – Notice to Pay Rent or Quit in 30 Days (Covered by CARES Act): For use when the tenant owes up to five months unpaid rent that became due on or after Oct. 1, 2021, and the property is subject to the CARES Act.
- CA-422 – Notice to Perform Conditions and/or Covenants or Quit in 30 Days-Monetary Breach (Covered by CARES Act): For use when a tenant owes charges other than rent that became on or after Oct. 1, 2022, and the property is subject to the CARES Act.
If a tenant at a property that is subject to the CARES Act owes amounts that became due prior to Oct. 1, 20221, or more than five months of past due rent, an attorney should be consulted.
For further information about the applicability of the CARES Act and its notice requirements, see CAA’s Industry Insight on the CARES Act.
For a chart listing CAA’s nonpayment notice forms (for use on or after Oct. 1, 2022), as well as all discontinued COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act non-payment notices and related forms, see CAA Non-Payment Notices.