This court case was interesting for two very important reasons.
Today I’m sharing about a court case I watched last week to give you some important details about it. As you may or may not know, I like to come into court early and get a feel for some of the cases that are coming before the judge. During this Thursday’s session, I witnessed a few interesting cases.
In one case, a tenant had exhausted ten months of rental assistance before staying in the property for another ten months. In this situation, the tenant only had an additional eight months of rental assistance available, leaving two months unpaid.
This was interesting because there were two instances of conflicting precedents at play here. The first said that the landlord was required to accept rental assistance if it was made available, but the second said that they could not begin eviction proceedings if they accepted partial payment.
"In the next three to six months, we should see more people returning to work."
The judge was clearly uncomfortable with having to exercise their judicial discretion in this matter but came to the conclusion that it was unfair for the landlord to be forced to start over on their eviction proceedings and take an additional four to six months for the case to return to the docket. He ruled that the court would put the eviction proceedings back on the calendar and that if the tenant doesn’t come up with the remaining funds, he would grant the eviction.
This case tells me two things. The first is that the mandate that requires acceptance of rental assistance (AB 486) was poorly thought out in regard to how it interacts with longstanding statutes. The second thing is that people are beginning to exhaust their rental assistance. Many landlords have been wondering how it is possible that people are still not working, especially in light of the labor shortage. My answer is that it’s unlikely for people to choose to go back to work full-time when they know their rent will be paid regardless.
It seems to me that, over the next three to six months, we’ll see a lot more people returning to work as their assistance is exhausted and they find themselves needing a job. Furthermore, the next legislative session will likely need to address some of the legal discrepancies that have cropped up due to things like AB 486.
I see this as good news for many landlords who were growing frustrated over the last couple of years and for judges who were forced to go outside the bounds of the existing statutes in eviction court. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me by phone or email.