News From Sacramento » Laura FRIEDMAN

Questions About Rent and Mortgages

April 2020
It has been nearly 30 days since Governor Newsom issued the nation’s first “stay at home” order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state, county and many of our cities have been bold and steadfast in response to the pandemic. But that doesn’t make it easier. The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on human life and health, and on our local and national economy. Although it is heartening to see the first signs that California is flattening the curve of the spread of the illness, the economic toll of the pandemic is staggering and is resulting in real, immediate hardship for our residents.
At the beginning of this month, many in our district and throughout the state passed a threshold they had been fearing since the onset of this pandemic – rent was due. My office has been receiving countless calls from renters and homeowners asking for help. I’d like to use this article to explain what the current laws and protections are as well as what assistance may be available to you.
Q: Do I have to pay rent or mortgage now?
A: The short answer is yes. Your rent or mortgage is due per your existing lease or lending agreement. However, if you are unable to pay, there are certain protections and means to find relief.

Q: What should I do if I am unable to pay rent when it comes due?
A: If you are unable to pay the rent due to a loss of income or increase in expenses caused by the COVID-19 crisis, immediately notify your landlord in writing within seven days of the payment due date.
Please document how you send your notification. For example, if you go to your local post box, videotape yourself putting it in the box. If you cannot go to the post office, you may also send a text or email. Keep records of all communications.
In addition, all tenants throughout the state are entitled to a form of eviction protection that currently ends May 31.
On March 31, the Governor issued an executive order banning the enforcement of evictions through May 31. Subsequently, the Judicial Council, the policymaking body for California’s courts, adopted an emergency eviction rule that stops the courts from hearing a majority of eviction cases for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
In addition to these protections, as residents of LA County, you are protected from eviction through May 31 by an executive order signed by Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Q: What if I cannot pay my mortgage?
A: Most importantly, you need to be in communication with your lender to understand what specific relief it is offering.
The federal government has extended numerous protections and assistance programs to homeowners with federally backed mortgages, including a prohibition on foreclosures for at least two months and a deferral of up to six months of mortgage payments free from penalties or late fees.
On March 31, Governor Newsom announced that Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and 200 banks chartered in California will be allowing homeowners to defer payments for at least 90 days without fear of being reported to credit agencies.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also offered forbearance plans and may potentially offer deferment plans in the future.

Q: I am a renter; do I have to show my landlord proof that I am unable to pay my rent because of COVID-19?
A: It depends on where you live. Some municipalities have passed emergency ordinances that give you more time to pay your rent if you are impacted by COVID-19, but you must show proof. You should get legal advice to find out how these laws apply to you.

Q: Will I owe the rent later?
A: For now, yes. Currently there are no state or local measures that allow for rent forgiveness, meaning that any rent that is accrued during the crisis will be owed in the future.

Q: What programs exist out there to help me pay my rent?
A: There are currently no programs that help pay people’s rent. However, many people plan on using the federal CARES Act stimulus check to help with housing. I advise renters to take full advantage of the numerous protections and options available to them based on where they live.

Q: What programs are available to help me pay my mortgage?
A: There are currently no programs specifically designed to help pay mortgages. However, some people are seeking mortgage relief through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
As you know, the housing crisis was already at the forefront of the conversation in Sacramento before this crisis started. Now our attention and need to act will be even more urgent. Every day, I am on the phone with constituents and my colleagues to figure out what can be done to alleviate the pressure on both renters and homeowners, but the road to a solution will not be easy.
While I hope to return to you in later articles with word of what we have planned, for now please use the protections and assistance listed above to their fullest potential. Please know that my office is ready and able to help you navigate any of these concerns and more.
If you have any questions, legislative proposals or require assistance, please call my office at (818) 558-3043 or email me at

Laura Friedman represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.