CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Monday night, March 16 halting evictions and foreclosures as the coronavirus pandemic threatens the livelihoods of the state’s renters and homeowners.

The executive order comes as Californians are experiencing substantial loss of hours or wages, or layoffs related to COVID-19, affecting their ability to keep up with their rents, mortgages, and utility bills.

“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” said Newsom in a statement. “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.”

The order does not relieve a tenant from the obligation to pay rent, or restrict the landlord’s ability to recover rent that is due, however. The protections are in effect through May 31, unless extended. The order requests banks and other financial institutions to halt foreclosures and related evictions during this time period.

The order also directs the California Public Utilities Commission to monitor measures undertaken by public and private utility providers to implement customer service protections for critical utilities, including electric, gas, water, internet, landline telephone, and cell phone service on a weekly basis.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday night also issued a moratorium on evictions if the tenant is able to show that he or she cannot pay rent due to pandemic-related circumstances, such as the loss of income because of workplace closures, child care costs due to school shutdowns, or taking care of a sick family member.

In California alone, 473 virus cases have been confirmed as of press time. (AJPress)

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