In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments throughout the U.S. ordered restaurants, bars, and shopping centers to shut down, while essential businesses were permitted to remain open. These drastic measures have forced small and large companies to close their doors forever; however, most businesses are still struggling to find ways to morph what was a viable business model into something capable of surviving for the next 12 months. Force majeure, or the so called “Act of God” provision associated with all contracts, is an essential tool in helping businesses traverse the COVID-19 valley of death.
About Ajay Gupta
AJAY GUPTA, ESQ.
SENIOR ATTORNEY, FOUNDER
Entries by Ajay Gupta
With all the craziness around eviction moratoriums, COVID-19, and election politics dominating the headlines, the California legislature quietly passed AB 1885 (its Senate Corollary was SB 832) on Tuesday, September 2nd. AB 1885 increases the California homestead to the greater of $300,000 or the countywide median sale price of a single-family home in the calendar year prior to the year in which the judgement debtor claims the exemption, not to exceed $600,000. As a frame of reference, the following are projections for a few of California’s major metropolitan areas:
On August 13th, the California Judicial Council amended its emergency rules to lift the statewide ban on evictions. In doing so, the Courts effectively passed the baton to the California Legislature to develop and pass a bill to address the looming eviction crisis set to erupt on September 1, 2020 when the statewide eviction ban is formally withdrawn. After weeks of drafts, negotiation and compromises between lawmakers, tenant advocates and landlord organizations, Governor Newsom has announced Assembly Bill 3088, known officially as the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (the “AB 3088”). The Relief Act will be voted on in the Senate on August 31, 2020 and will need a 2/3 majority vote to pass and be sent back to the Assembly.
On August 13th, the California Judicial Council amended its emergency rules to lift the statewide ban on evictions. Measures passed by Governor Newsom and local cities still remain in place to try and slow the pace of evictions; but, by and large, the now-lifted statewide eviction freeze was the only thing that was stopping the flood of evictions that everyone knows is coming.
In a recent three-part blog article, Chris Evans discussed the moratorium on evictions and current rental obligations from a state, local, and judicial level. The blog article revealed that, among other things, San Diego tenants are protected from eviction until June 30, 2020. The article further clarified that landlords cannot initiate an unlawful detainer action until 90 days after Governor Newsom lifts the State of Emergency Declaration. These governmental actions have certainly provided some welcomed breathing room for tenants that have felt the immediate economic impacts of COVID-19 on their lease.
Generally, when two people purchase property together neither are thinking about what will become of it if they separate. This can become a major problem if such a situation arises, but there are steps that can be taken to guard against excessive losses. While forming a contingency plan for the end of any kind of partnership may not be pleasant, partition actions are for the good of both parties.
Real estate litigation commonly arises from “self-help issues”, or a situation where an individual attempts to resolve a dispute through their own unsanctioned action. This is never advisable, as it can easily lead to further escalation and potentially less civil confrontations. In the video below, Mr. Gupta discusses a situation where a disputed property line ran through one party’s driveway. In order to block this access point the other party erected a low cinderblock wall along the property line. This action only exacerbated the situation, as the erection was unsanctioned in first place, but even its removal would be grounds for further dispute.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has surged upwards, our practice has seen a dramatic uptick in the number of calls we’ve been receiving from business owners, including landlords, tenants and lenders, who are all grappling with issues never before seen and seeking answers to questions they have never faced before. In an effort to educate the community and businesses about what we’re seeing in San Diego, we put together a panel on Covid-19 impact and options for a Webinar.
Though a property owner may prefer not to consider it, there are rights which an individual is entitled after using a property for a particular period of time despite the fact that they do not own said property. Legally, when an individual uses a property without the permission of the owner it is known as adverse possession. California has a variety of protections for both property owners and squatters that ensure that these circumstances can be litigated fairly and effectively.
Two weeks ago today, I was standing in front of Judge Styn in San Diego Superior Court expecting to get a one-week bench trial underway. This was after we had waived our jury the prior Friday when San Diego had suspended jury trials due to the Coronavirus. Judge Styn is 79 years old and the San Diego Courts were shut down the following day. For most of us, we’ve only been living with the impact of this virus for just two weeks, but for small businesses, so much has changed over those two weeks.