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Thursday, August 06, 2020
You are here : About SSA  >  SSA News

28

Can I Conduct Lien Sales and Charge Late Fees During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

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Lien Sales & Late Fees During the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

As the coronavirus (Covid 19) spreads throughout the United States, several states and localities have enacted restrictions on foreclosures and evictions. Many of these orders that have been issued to date exclusively cover residential evictions and foreclosures. However, as the situation evolves, more states are expanding those restrictions to cover commercial evictions as well. Some of the commercial eviction or foreclosure moratoriums may prevent operators from conducting self storage liens sales, performing overlocks, or imposing late fees.

 

Although self storage lien sales are not evictions in the usual sense of that word, the SSA urges all operators to exercise great caution if they operate in an area covered by a moratorium on commercial or non-residential evictions or foreclosures.

 

First, self storage lien sales are a form of non-judicial foreclosure. Therefore, an order that imposes a foreclosure moratorium may apply to self storage lien sales. Second, the overall intent of many government restrictions at this time is to keep people at home as much as possible. It arguably frustrates the intent of the orders if a landlord creates a situation that forces a tenant to leave home for a non-essential purpose. Third, the orders are often hastily drafted and vague and do not define the term “eviction”, “foreclosure”, or other key terms in the orders. The overall intent, coupled with the vague wording, indicates that the term “eviction” or “foreclosure” is meant to cover any unilateral action by an operator that terminates a rental agreement. This certainly covers lien sales, even if the primary purpose of a lien sale is to recover unpaid rents.

 

The volume of new orders issued daily makes it difficult to provide a comprehensive list of jurisdictions, especially local governments, that have enacted eviction or foreclosure moratoriums. Additionally, in the interest of space, we did not include local orders that affect only residential evictions or lawsuits filed to evict a tenant.

 

We intend to update this document frequently to include new orders and previous orders we missed. Please email Daniel Bryant and Joe Doherty if you believe any orders are missing.

 

Alabama:

 

  • There are currently no commercial eviction restrictions in place. Check back here for additional updates. 

 

Alaska:

 

  • There are currently no commercial eviction restrictions in place. Check back here for additional updates. 

 

Arizona:

 

  • There are currently no commercial eviction restrictions in place.
  • Governor Ducey issued an order, temporarily delaying residential evictions for people impacted by coronavirus. The order was later extended until October 31.

 

Arkansas:

 

  • No commercial eviction moratorium in place.

 

California:

 

  • Governor issued an order, issuing a statewide moratorium on residential evictions. 
  • Governor also issued an executive order and a subsequent extension that authorizes local governments to pause evictions for renters. The protection is in effect through September 30, 2020. Tenants are still obligated to pay rent, and landlords can still recover rent that is due. The order only applies to the imposition of limitations on evictions when the basis for the eviction is nonpayment of rent, or a foreclosure, arising out of a substantial decrease in household or business income (including, but not limited to, a substantial decrease in household income caused by layoffs or a reduction in the number of compensable hours of work, or a substantial decrease in business income caused by a reduction in opening hours or consumer  demand), or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses; and the decrease in household or business income or the out-of-pocket medical expenses was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented.
  • Evictions and foreclosures are suspended only as set forth by local governments. A complete list of California orders can be found here.

 

Livermore, CA

 

  • The Director of Emergency Services issued an order stating that “no landlord or lessor shall endeavor to evict a commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent, limit their physical access to personal property or conduct lien sales, including but not limited to any such provisions under . . . Business and Professions Code section 21700 et seq., if the tenant or lessee demonstrates that the inability to pay rent is due to, or arising out of, a substantial decrease in business income or substantial out of pocket medical expense, or extraordinary child care needs, any of which was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented in writing.”
  • A landlord who knows that a tenant cannot pay some or all of the rent temporarily for the reasons set forth above shall not serve a notice pursuant to . . . Business and Professions Code section 21703 as applicable, . . . conduct a lien sale, or otherwise seek to evict or terminate a rental agreement for nonpayment of rent during the period of the local emergency and while this Order is in place.
  • A landlord is presumed to know of a tenant’s inability to pay rent within the meaning of this Order if the tenant or mobile homeowner, within 30 days after the date that rent is due, notifies the landlord in writing of tenant’s inability to pay full rent because of a substantial decrease in business income, or out of pocket medical expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or extraordinary child care needs, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and provides documentation to support the claim. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence and only used for evaluating the tenant’s claim.
  • A landlord is also prohibited from retaliating against a tenant that qualifies for the protections set forth in this order during the term of the moratorium. For example, a landlord, and any of the landlord’s employees or agents, is prohibited from terminating utilities or blocking physical access to personal property to a qualified tenant protected by this moratorium.
  • The order remains in effect until September 30.

 

City of Los Angeles, CA

 

  • The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring self storage owners to defer rent if a tenant is unable to pay for a COVID-related reason and provides documentation to the owner no later than seven days after the rent is due.
  • The deferral lasts until three months after the local emergency period.
  • The ordinance prohibits late fees on deferred rent.
  • The ordinance also requires that owners provide notice of the ordinance to their tenants.
  • Owners in Los Angeles are strongly encouraged to consult with legal counsel before proceeding with lockouts or lien sales. 

 

Los Angeles County, CA

 

  • The Board of Supervisors ratified an Executive Order stating that no residential or commercial property owner shall evict a residential or commercial tenant for: (1) nonpayment of rent, late charges, or any other fees accrued if the Tenant demonstrates an inability to pay rent and/or related charges due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, the state of emergency regarding COVID-19, or following government-recommended COVID-19 precautions, and the Tenant has provided notice to the Landlord within seven (7) days after the date that rent was due, unless extenuating circumstances exist, that the Tenant is unable to pay; or (2) reasons amounting to a no-fault eviction under the County Code, unless necessary for health and safety reasons.
  • The order defines “no-fault  eviction” as  any eviction for which the notice to terminate  tenancy  is not based on alleged fault  by  the  Tenant,  including but not  limited  to,  eviction  notices  served pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1161 et seq. or County Code.
  • The Board later amended the Executive Order to cover the unincorporated areas of L.A. County and the incorporated cities without a local eviction moratorium.
  • The amended order prohibits a landlord from charging late fees on unpaid rent.
  • The amended order also states that “a commercial tenant includes, but is not limited to, a tenant using a property as a storage facility for commercial purposes.”
  • The order provides tenants with 12 months after the expiration of the order to repay their unpaid rent.
  • The L.A. Count order, as amended, may affect lien sales and late fees, particularly as applied to business tenants. Consultation with your legal counsel is strongly advised before proceeding with any lien activity.

 

Ontario, CA

 

  • The City Council ordered that no landlord shall endeavor to evict a storage unit patron (including a lien sale), in accordance with the ordinance, if the storage unit patron demonstrates that the inability to pay rent or fees is due to COVID-19, the state of emergency regarding COVID-19, or following government recommended COVID-19 precautions. To take advantage of these protections, the patron must satisfy all of the following requirements:

 

  1. Prior to April 7, the patron paid rent due to the storage unit operator pursuant to an agreement.

 

  1. The patron notifies the storage unit operator in writing before the rent is due, or within a reasonable period of time afterwards not to exceed 7 days, that the patron needs to delay all or some payment of rent because of an inability to pay the full amount due to reasons related to COVID-19, including but not limited to the following:

 

  • The patron was unavailable to work because the patron was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19;

 

  • The patron experienced a lay-off, loss of hours, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19, the state of emergency, or related government response; or

 

  • The patron needed to miss work to care for a child whose school was closed in response to COVID-19.

 

  1. The patron retains verifiable documentation, such as termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining the patron’s changed financial circumstances, to support the patron’s assertion of an inability to pay. This documentation may be provided to the storage unit operator no later than the time of payment of back-due rent.

 

  • If a storage unit patron complies with the requirements above, a storage unit operator shall not do any of the following:

 

  1. Prevent a storage unit patron from accessing their stored items during the normal hours of operation of the storage unit facility; or

 

  1. Send to the storage unit patron a Notice of Lien Sale pursuant to Business and Professions Code, Division 8, Chapter 10, or any other applicable statute regulating storage unit operators.

 

  1. Conduct a Lien Sale pursuant to Business and Professions Code, Division 8, Chapter 10, or any other applicable statute regulating storage unit operators.

 

  • For purposes of this ordinance, “in writing” includes email or text communications to a landlord or the landlord’s representative with whom the tenant has previously corresponded by email or text. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence, and only used for evaluating the tenant's claim.

 

  • The patron is not relieved of liability for unpaid storage fees, which the operator may seek after expiration of the local emergency and the patron must pay within six months of the expiration of the local emergency. Six months after the end of the emergency if the rent or storage fees are unpaid, an operator may charge or collect a late fee for rent/fees that is delayed for the reasons stated in the ordinance; or an operator may seek rent or storage fees that is delayed for the reasons stated in the ordinance through the eviction or other appropriate legal process.
  • The order remains in effect until further notice.

Pasadena, CA

  • City Council passed an ordinance stating that “no landlord shall endeavor to evict a commercial tenant for non-payment of rent if a commercial tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.”
  • “Tenant” means a person, partnership, corporation, family trust or other business entity entitled by a written or oral agreement to occupy a rental unit to the exclusion of others, and actually occupy said rental unit for residential or commercial purposes (including, but not limited to, a self-storage facility, as defined by Pasadena Municipal Code Section 17.80.020).
  • The Pasadena Municipal Code defines self-storage as “a structure containing separate storage space that is designed to be leased or rented individually in an enclosed building. This use does not include outdoor storage or recreational vehicles, boats, personal watercraft, motorcycles, or trailers.”
  • A landlord shall give written notice of the protections afforded by this ordinance to each tenant no later than 30 days after its effective date. In lieu of providing written notice to each tenant's rental unit, a landlord may conspicuously post and prominently display such notice in the common areas of the property during the pendency of this local emergency.
  • A landlord knows of a tenant’s inability to pay rent if the tenant, within 30 days after the date that rent is due, notifies the landlord in writing of lost income and inability to pay full rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, and provides documentation to support the claim. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence, and only used for evaluating the tenant's claim.
  • The tenant must pay any unpaid rent within six months after the local state of emergency ends.
  • The landlord cannot charge late fees, deny a tenant access to the premises, or move or convert the tenant’s possessions.

Colorado

 

  • Governor issued an order, which was subsequently amended, stating that “landlords and lenders are prohibited from charging any late fees or penalties for any breach of the terms of a lease or rental agreement due to nonpayment that were incurred from May 1, 2020 until June 13, 2020.”
  • Owners and operators in Colorado should consult with legal counsel before charging late fees.
  • This order expired on July 12.

 

Connecticut:

 

  • The State of Connecticut Superior Court issued an order issuing an immediate stay of the service of all issued executions on evictions and ejectments through August 1, 2020. Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.
  • Governor issued an order restricting evictions of residential renters through August 22, 2020.

 

Delaware:

 

  • The Delaware Justice of the Peace Court is only accepting landlord/tenant complaints where the landlord demonstrates irreparable harm. Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.
  • Governor issued an order, halting residential evictions and foreclosures. He amended the original order here

 

District of Columbia:

 

  • The D.C. Superior Court ordered the suspension of evictions of all tenants and foreclosed homeowners. Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.
  • The D.C. Superior Court also ordered that “Unless otherwise ordered by the court, all deadlines and time limits in statutes (including statute of limitations), court rules, and standing and other orders issued by the court that would otherwise expire during the period of emergency are suspended, tolled and extended during the period of emergency.”
  • Although the court likely does not have the authority to extend deadlines and time limits for non-judicial procedures such as the self storage lien law, the order is broadly worded, and storage operators should consult with counsel before proceeding with lien sales.

 

Florida:

 

  • Florida Governor issued an order, halting temporarily residential evictions through August 1. 
  • The Florida Supreme Court issued an order that alters many court procedures and rules, including the requirement that writs of possession are issued by the clerk “forthwith.”

 

Georgia:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Hawaii:

 

  • The Hawaii Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division announced it is suspending all eviction activities. This likely does not affect self storage operations.  
  • The Governor ordered a moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment through August 31. This does not affect self storage lien sales.

 

Idaho:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Illinois:

 

  • Governor issued an order instructing “all state, county, and local law enforcement officers in the State of Illinois are instructed to cease enforcement of orders of eviction for residential and non-residential premises, unless the tenant has been found to pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants, an immediate and severe risk to property, or a violation of any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed as relieving any individual or entity of the obligation to pay rent, to make mortgage payments, or comply with any other obligation that an individual or entity may have pursuant to a lease, or rental agreement, or mortgage. The continued need for this directive shall be evaluated upon issuance of any new Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation.”
  • The order was subsequently extended until August 22.
  • Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.

 

Chicago:

 

  • The Circuit Court of Cook County announced a pause to most cases, including evictions, until July 6, 2020. Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.

 

Indiana:

 

  • Governor issued an order, pausing residential evictions and foreclosures. The Governor subsequently extended the order until July 31.

 

Iowa:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Kansas:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Kentucky:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Louisiana:

 

  • Governor issued an order, suspending legal deadlines, including liberative prescription and preemptive periods applicable to legal proceedings in all courts, administrative agencies, and boards, until June 15, 2020, including, but not limited to, any such deadlines set forth by law within Title 9 of Louisiana Revised Statutes, Civil Code Ancillaries. The self storage lien law is part of Title 9 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes.
  • The Governor did not extend the order. Operators in Louisiana may restart the lien process no earlier than June 16.

 

Maine:

 

  • Maine Supreme Court issued an order, halting most types of court cases including evictions and foreclosures until at least May 1. Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.
  • The Governor issued an order stating that “no landlord or agent of a landlord or property owner may attempt during this state of emergency to evict a tenant by a means not authorized by law.” The order also states that no Writ of Possession in a FED (forcible detainer and entry) action authorized by a court before the Court’s March 18th Order shall issue or be served upon a tenant except as provided by the Governor’s order and after review by a judge.
  • The Governor’s order does not affect lien sales but could affect evictions and other removals for reasons other than non-payment.

 

Maryland:

 

  • Governor issued an order, halting certain types of commercial evictions and certain types of repossessions.
  • It states that to the extent any statute, rule or regulation would permit a Creditor to repossess any automobile, truck, or Chattel Home by self-help (including, without limitation, CL §§ 9-609, 12-115, 12-624, 12-1021, or 14-2008), such statute, rule, or regulation is hereby suspended until the state of emergency is terminated and the catastrophic health emergency is rescinded.
  • While subject to interpretation, this likely covers self storage lien sales of automobiles, trucks, or chattel homes. SSA members should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with a lien sale of those vehicles.
  • Governor issued an order, halting residential evictions of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent is related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

 

Baltimore County, MD:

 

  • At the County Executive’s request, Sheriff R. Jay Fisher has agreed to suspend all evictions for the duration of the state of emergency in the County.

 

Massachusetts:

 

  • The Massachusetts Attorney General placed restrictions on most forms of debt collection, which likely extends to lien notices and lien sales. While the regulations are in effect, operators should likely halt tenant collection efforts, aside from payment reminders that do not imply or threaten a lien sale. The regulations appear to have expired on June 25. Operators in Massachusetts are strongly encouraged to consult with their legal counsel before proceeding with lien sales.
  • The Governor signed a bill restricting certain non-essential evictions of residential tenants and tenants of small business premises units. Consultation with your legal counsel is strongly advised. The bill remains in effect until October 17.
  • The bill defines “small business premises unit” as a premises occupied by a tenant for commercial purposes whether for-profit or not-for-profit; provided, however, that a small business premises unit shall not include a premises occupied by a tenant if the tenant or a party that controls, is controlled by or is in common control with the tenant: (i) operates multi-state; (ii) operates multi-nationally; or (iii) is publicly traded; or (iv) has less than 150 full-time equivalent employees.” This appears to apply only to certain commercial tenants of self storage.
  • A non-essential eviction is defined as an eviction: (i) for non-payment of rent; (ii) resulting from a foreclosure; (iii) for no fault or no cause; or (iv) for cause that does not involve or include allegations of: (a) criminal activity that may impact the health or safety of other residents, health care workers, emergency personnel, persons lawfully on the subject property or the general public; or (b) lease violations that may impact the health or safety of other residents, health care workers, emergency personnel, persons lawfully on the subject property or the general public.
  • The definition of non-essential eviction excludes an eviction for a small business premises unit on account of the expiration of the term of a lease or tenancy or a default by the tenant of a small business premises unit the terms of its lease or tenancy that occurred before March 10, 2020.
  • The bill provides that “a deadline or time period for action by a party to a non-essential eviction for a residential dwelling unit or small business premises unit, whether such deadline or time period was established before or after the effective date of this act, including, but not limited to, a date to answer a complaint, appeal a judgment or levy upon an execution for possession or a money judgment, shall be tolled.” This language is broad and likely tolls the deadline for payment that the Massachusetts lien law requires an operator to include a notice of a pending sale of property.
  • The bill also prohibits late fees if, not later than 30 days after the missed rent payment, the tenant of a small business premises unit provides notice and documentation to the landlord that the non-payment of rent was due to a financial impact from COVID-19.

 

Beverly, MA

 

  • The Board of Health issued an order stating that “no landlord and/or owner shall enforce an eviction upon a resident of Beverly including residential tenants and commercial tenants deemed to be essential businesses per the directive of the Governor of Massachusetts, during this public health crisis.”
  • The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales of certain commercial tenants. Operators in Beverly should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

Cambridge, MA

 

  • The City Manager issued an order stating that “no Landlord shall enforce an action for any reason upon a tenant in Cambridge, either residential or commercial, during the pendency of this Emergency Order.”
  • The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Cambridge should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

Danvers, MA

 

  • The Board of Health issued an order stating that “no landlord and/or owner shall enforce an eviction upon a resident of Danvers, residential or commercial, during this public health crisis.”
  • The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Danvers, and operators with delinquent tenants who live in Danvers, should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

Gloucester, MA

  • The Board of Health issued an order stating that “no landlord and/or owner shall enforce an eviction upon a resident of Gloucester, including residential tenants and commercial tenants deemed to be essential businesses per the directive of the Governor of Massachusetts, during this public health crisis.”
  • The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales of certain commercial tenants. Operators in Gloucester should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

Lynn, MA

  • The Mayor issued an order stating that “no landlord and/or owner shall enforce an eviction upon a resident of Lynn, including residential tenants and commercial tenants during this public health crisis.”
  • The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Lynn, and operators with delinquent tenants who live in Lynn, should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

Newburyport, MA

  • The Board of Health issued an order stating that “No landlord and/or owner shall enforce an eviction upon a resident of Newburyport, residential or commercial, during this public health crisis.”
  • This order remains in effect until further notice.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Newburyport, and operators with delinquent tenants who live in Newburyport, should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

Peabody, MA

  • The Board of Health issued an order stating that “no landlord and/or owner shall enforce an eviction upon a resident of Peabody, including residential tenants and commercial tenants deemed to be essential businesses per the directive of the Governor of Massachusetts, during this public health crisis.”
  • This order remains in effect until further notice.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales of certain commercial tenants. Operators in Peabody should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

Salem, MA

  • The Board of Health issued an order stating that “no landlord and/or owner shall enforce an eviction upon a resident of Salem, residential or commercial, during this public health crisis.”
  • This order remains in effect until further notice.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Salem, and operators with delinquent tenants who live in Salem, should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

Somerville, MA

 

  • The Mayor ordered that “no landlord and/or owner shall enforce an eviction upon a resident of Somerville, residential or commercial, during this public health crisis.”
  • This Emergency Order shall remain in effect until notice is given, pursuant to the Board of Health’s judgment that the public health emergency no longer exists.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Somerville, and operators with delinquent tenants who live in Somerville, should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

Michigan:

 

  • Governor issued an order, halting residential evictions, except in limited circumstances. The Governor extended the order until July 16.

 

Minnesota:

 

  • Governor issued an order, halting temporarily evictions against residential tenants.

 

Mississippi:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.
  • For further information from the Mississippi court system, check back here.

 

Missouri:

 

  • Missouri Supreme Court issued an order, halting all in person court proceedings. 

 

Montana:

 

  • Montana Supreme Court issued a memorandum to all courts in the state, recommending that virtually all cases be postponed but ultimately leaving that to individual courts to decide. Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.
  • Montana Governor issued an order, limiting residential foreclosures and evictions for certain members of a vulnerable population.

 

Nebraska:

 

  • Governor issued an order, stopping temporarily residential evictions. 

 

Nevada:

 

  • On March 29, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued an executive order barring lockouts as well as commercial evictions and foreclosures. The order also prohibits landlords from charging late fees for nonpayment. The order took effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice. The order sunsets on June 30, 2020.
  • Effective July 1, Nevada operators may commence lien sales, lockouts, and late fees. Operators are prohibited from charging late fees for payments missed from March 30, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
  • Operators restarting the lien process are encouraged to restart the process completely no earlier than July 1. Regardless, the operator will need send a new notice of sale even if the operator had sent the notice before the Governor’s moratorium.

 

New Hampshire:

 

  • New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has issued an order banning all non-judicial foreclosure actions in the state until July 1, 2020. The Governor subsequently terminated the order.

 

New Jersey:

 

  • Governor on March 19 issued an order, pausing residential evictions and foreclosures for 60 days. The state Supreme Court issued an order suspending landlord/tenant trials through June 14, 2020. This will affect self storage evictions filed in court.

 

Newark, NJ

 

  • Mayor on March 15 announced a 60-day moratorium on evictions. The Mayor’s order is not available online. We are trying to locate a copy.

 

Union City, NJ

 

  • Union City Board of Commissioners implemented a moratorium on commercial evictions.
  • In any action for eviction of a commercial tenant based on non-payment of rent, it shall be an absolute defense if the failure to pay rent during the State of Emergency is the result of a substantial decrease in income (including but not limited to a decrease caused by a reduction in hours or consumer demand) and the decrease in income was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or by any State of, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented.
  • In addition, the commercial tenants proofs shall include any application filed with the appropriate agency or institution for loans pursuant to Federal Law including but not limited to the Paycheck Protection Act and that application has not been acted upon or has been rejected which would have allowed the commercial tenant to render current the outstanding rent that accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Any notice to a commercial tenant demanding rent shall include the following statement in bold underlined 12-point font: "If you are a small business or a non-profit organization, you may not be evicted for failure to pay rent if the failure was due to a substantial decrease in income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any municipal, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented. This does not relieve you of your obligation to pay rent in the future.”
  • This section shall remain in effect until the expiration of emergency set forth in Governor Murphy’s Executive order 106 dated March 24, 2020, unless extended.
  • Although this ordinance appears to apply only to eviction actions filed in court, operators in Union City should consult with legal counsel before sending lien notices or conducting lien sales.

 

New Mexico:

 

  • State has issued an order, halting residential evictions indefinitely.

 

Santa Fe:

 

  • Santa Fe Mayor issued an order stopping residential and commercial eviction indefinitely. The Mayor is prohibiting the eviction of residential and commercial property tenants who, because of the public health emergency, are unable to pay rent on time. This likely affects self storage operators.

 

New York:

 

  • Governor issued an order, implementing a 90-day suspension of all commercial and residential evictions. This order extends until June 19, 2020. Self storage operators in New York should consult with their legal counsel before sending notices or proceeding with any lien sales.
  • The Governor extended the initial suspension of evictions as follows: “There shall be no initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of either an eviction of any residential or commercial tenant, for nonpayment of rent . . . owned or rented by someone that is eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or otherwise facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of sixty days beginning on June 20, 2020.”

 

North Carolina:

 

  • The Governor issued an order restricting commercial evictions.
  • The order protects commercial tenants of commercial leases. A commercial lease is “a lease of any real property that is leased to an individual, business, or organization that does commerce in the State of North Carolina.
  • Commercial landlords shall not, for reason of late payment or nonpayment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, perform a self-help eviction of a commercial tenant, require commercial tenants to vacate their facilities, terminate any commercial tenant’s lease, or take any action, judicial or otherwise, to terminate a commercial tenant’s possession.
  • This restriction on commercial evictions shall apply only if one or both of the following conditions are met: (1) The landlord is aware that the commercial tenant’s late payment or nonpayment is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; or the commercial tenant provides the landlord with documentation or other evidence that the late payment or nonpayment is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • From May 30 to June 20, before performing a self-help eviction of a commercial tenant, terminating any commercial tenant’s lease, or taking any action to terminate a commercial tenant’s possession for reason of late payment or nonpayment, commercial landlords shall inquire whether the late payment or nonpayment is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and give the commercial tenant seventy-two (72) hours to respond. If the landlord does not comply with the provisions of this section, the landlord’s action is voidable by the tenant.
  • Commercial landlords shall not assess upon their commercial tenants interest, late fees, or other penalties for late payment or nonpayment of rent due from May 30 to June 20. If a commercial tenant had existing interest, fees, or other penalties as of May 30, all accumulation of additional interest, fees, or other penalties is paused through June 20.
  • Commercial tenants shall be provided the opportunity to make reasonable payment arrangements to pay off, over at least a six-month period, any rent that became due from May 30 to June 20 and was not paid during that period. No interest, late fees or other penalties shall be charged on these arrearages. The six-month payoff period shall be calculated from the expiration of the Effective Period.
  • The order is in effect from May 30 to June 20.
  • Self storage operators are strongly encouraged to consult with legal counsel before conducting lien sales or charging late fees from May 30 to June 20.
  • Supreme Court of North Carolina issued an order, staying all evictions until June 21, 2020. Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.

 

North Dakota:

 

  • North Dakota Supreme Court issued an order, pausing temporarily residential evictions. 
  • Additionally, several other individual courts have elected to close or significantly reduce operations. For a full list, click here.
  • Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.

 

Ohio:

 

  • There is no statewide eviction moratorium in place currently.

 

Oklahoma:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Oregon:

 

  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an order prohibiting non-residential evictions for nonpayment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The order is worded broadly and appears to apply to self storage lien sales. The order also prohibits late fees or other penalties arising from nonpayment. The order was expired on June 30 and was replaced by the legislation discussed below.
  • Governor Brown sign a bill to extend the state’s eviction moratorium. Although this bill does not expressly mention self storage, it contains broad language that may prohibit self storage lien sales, lockouts, and late fees through at least September 30, 2020. Oregon operators should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with lien sales in the state.
  • The bill prohibits landlords from “tak[ing] any action that would interfere with a tenant’s possession or use of a rental unit based on a tenant’s nonpayment.” The bill also prohibits landlords from “impos[ing] a late fee or other penalty on a tenant for nonpayment under this section.”
  • Unlike the Governor’s previous order, this bill does not require the tenant to provide a COVID-related reason for non-payment. In fact, the tenant does not need to provide any reason for or notice when missing a payment. The tenant has until March 31, 2021 to repay any payments missed between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020. Importantly, however, landlords may follow the usual timeline against tenants who miss rent in October 2020 or later.
  • Finally, the bill does not apply to payments missed before April 1, 2020. Operators may be able to proceed with lien sales against those tenants, but, again, should consult with legal counsel before doing so.

 

Clackamas County, OR

  • The County Board ordered a temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions for nonpayment of rent based on tenant’s inability to pay rent due to loss of income attributed to COVID-19.
  • The Board also ordered that “the value of goods and services sold within Clackamas County may not exceed the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods and services in the same market area at, or immediately before, the time of the declared emergency.
  • This pricing restriction is more restrictive than state law.
  • The order remains in effect until June 30.
  • Self storage operators in the county should consult with their legal counsel before raising rents or conducting lien sales.

 

Gresham, OR

 

  • The City Council ordered a temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions; however, the ordinance is not yet available online.

 

Hillsboro, OR

 

  • The City Council ordered that “a temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions within the City of Hillsboro is necessary for the protection of life or property and to prevent or minimize danger to lives and property.”
  • The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • Self storage operators in Hillsboro should consult with their legal counsel before conducting lien sales.

 

Tualatin, OR

 

  • The Mayor ordered a temporary moratorium on all commercial evictions in the City of Tualatin for tenants on the basis of nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee, due to the loss of business income resulting from COVID-19.
  • To establish eligibility for this moratorium, affected tenants must:(a) demonstrate  substantial wage loss or loss of business income, through documentation or other objectively verifiable means, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, including County,  state, and federal restrictions imposed to mitigate its spread; and (b) notify their landlords on or before the day that rent is due that they are unable to pay rent, fees or charges due to substantial wage loss or loss of business  income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Nothing in this moratorium shall relieve \ commercial tenants of liability for unpaid rent, charges or fees, which landlords may seek, and tenants must pay within six months after expiration of this emergency.
  • No late fee may be charged or collected for rent charges or fees that are delayed for the reasons stated in this moratorium; nor may a landlord seek rent, charges or fees that are delayed for the reasons stated in this moratorium through the eviction process.
  • The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • Self storage operators in Tualatin should consult with their legal counsel before conducting lien sales.

 

Pennsylvania:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.
  • Individual county courts may have restrictions that affect evictions for reasons other than non-payment.

 

Rhode Island:

 

  • The state Supreme Court ordered that “[t]he District Court may recommence the adjudication of eviction matters after June 1, 2020 and shall establish a protocol for the orderly and equitable handling of these matters, giving priority to cases pending for the greatest amount of time.” Although this order does not affect self storage lien sales, it may affect the ability to evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment.

 

South Carolina:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

South Dakota:

 

  • South Dakota has not imposed an eviction or foreclosure moratorium on commercial properties. Check back here for additional information as well as here

 

Tennessee:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Texas:

 

  • Texas has not imposed a statewide eviction or foreclosure moratorium on commercial properties.

 

Austin, TX

 

  • The Austin City Council imposed additional requirements before proceeding with an eviction for non-payment. This appears to apply only to judicial evictions, not to self storage lien sales, but operators in Austin are encouraged to review the ordinance and consult with counsel.
  • The ordinance expires on July 8, 2020.
  • Also, see below for the Travis County order, which applies in Austin.

Bexar County, TX

 

  • Bexar County ordered that “Bexar County rental property owners temporarily suspend  evictions until after June 1, 2020 to prevent renters from being displaced due to the public health emergency, except on the order of the Bexar County Justice of the Peace Courts under the procedures and guidelines established by those courts in circumstances which present an imminent threat of: (i) physical harm to the property owner, their employees, or other tenants, or (ii) criminal activity. Thereafter, I recommend that judges in those courts work with landlords and tenants to develop an appropriate timeline for evictions to proceed.”
  • The order also states that “foreclosure proceedings within Bexar County be temporarily suspended to prevent the displacement of occupants during the public health emergency until July 6, 2020.”
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Bexar County should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

El Paso County, TX

 

  • El Paso County ordered that “to the extent allowed by law, no landlord shall evict a tenant for lack of payment while this Order is in effect. Furthermore, in alignment with the direction from the Texas Justice Court Training Center, it is hereby declared that evictions are not essential and shall be suspended for the next 30 days or until this Order is lifted.”
  • Despite the broad wording, the order arguably applies only to residential evictions and not to commercial evictions or self storage lien sales. The language in the order is under the heading “Utilities & Residence” and the county issued guidance explaining the order’s effect on residential evictions.
  • Nevertheless, operators in El Paso County should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

Laredo, TX

 

  • The Mayor ordered that “to the extent allowed by the law, no landlord shall evict a tenant for lack of payment while this ordinance is in effect.”
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Laredo should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

Travis County, TX

 

  • The county prohibited “the removal of property or exclusion of a tenant by a property owner in the manners described in the applicable sections of the Texas Property Code.” The self storage lien law is part of the Texas Property Code.
  • The order remains in effect until July 25.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales and may affect lockouts. Operators in Travis County should consult with counsel before proceeding with any lien sales or lockouts.
  • This order applies in the incorporated parts of the Travis County and the following incorporated cities and villages in Travis County: Austin, Bee Cave, Briarcliff, Cedar Park, Creedmoor, Elgin, Jonestown, Lago Vista, Lakeway, Leander, Manor, Mustang Ridge, Pflugerville, Point Venture, Rollingwood, Round Rock, San Leanna, Sunset Valley, The Hills, Volente, Webberville, and West Lake Hills.

 

Utah:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Vermont:

 

  • Vermont Supreme Court issued an order, halting temporarily all non-emergency proceedings – including evictions.

 

Virginia:

 

  • The Supreme Court of Virginia issued an order directing courts to prioritize emergency matters. This may affect evictions for reasons other than non-payment.

 

Washington:

 

  • Governor issued an order prohibiting landlords, property owners, and property managers from increasing, or threatening to increase, the rate of rent for any commercial rental property if the commercial tenant has been materially impacted by the COVID-19, whether personally impacted and is unable to work or whether the business itself was deemed non-essential pursuant to Proclamation 20-25 or otherwise lost staff or customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This prohibition does not apply to commercial rental property if rent increases were included in an existing lease agreement that was executed prior to February 29, 2020 (pre-COVID-19 state of emergency).
  • The order is in place until October 15, 2020.

 

Edmonds, WA

 

  • City Council imposed a moratorium on small business and nonprofit tenant evictions for non-payment of rent or due to the expiration of the lease’s term until the earlier of the termination of the Proclamation of Emergency dated March 5, 2020 or May 25, 2020.
  • Small business means any business entity, including a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity, that is owned and operated independently from all other businesses, and that has fifty or fewer employees per establishment or premises.
  • During this moratorium, an owner of property shall not enforce a contract or statutory remedy under a lease that would remove a small business or nonprofit tenant from its premises. These prohibited remedies include, but are not limited to, terminating the tenant’s lease or terminating the tenant’s right to possession of the premises.
  • During this moratorium, an owner of property also shall endeavor to enter into a payment plan, or other workout agreement to assist a distressed small business or nonprofit in rent relief, including but not limited to the deferred payment of rent, discount to rent, or other strategies to address the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 civil emergency.
  • No small business or nonprofit tenant shall incur late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment of rent during the moratorium.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Edmonds should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

King County, WA

 

  • King County imposed a moratorium on evictions of small commercial tenants.
  • Small commercial tenant" means a business entity, including a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership or other legal entity, that: 1.  Is owned and operated independently from all other businesses.  A franchisee with five or fewer franchise units shall be considered owned and operated independently from its franchisor; 2.  Has fifty or fewer employees per establishment or premises; 3.  Has either been forced to close due to an emergency order issued by the Governor or has gross receipts from the previous calendar month of 2020 that are less than seventy percent of its gross receipts for the same month in 2019; and 4.  Is neither a general sales and service business with ten or more establishments in operation located anywhere in the world nor an entertainment use business with five or more establishments in operation located anywhere in the world.
  • A small commercial tenant who fails to pay rent when due between March 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021, may elect to pay the overdue rent through a repayment plan if the failure to pay was due to circumstances occurring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Late fees, interest or other charges arising from the late payment of rent do not apply to late payment of rent by small commercial tenants between March 1, 2020, to March 1, 2021, if the failure to pay was due to circumstances occurring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and do not apply to repayment of those amounts made in accordance with a repayment plan, so long as the payments are timely made under the plan.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in King County should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

Ocean Shores, WA

 

  • The City Council imposed a moratorium on small business and nonprofit tenant evictions for non-payment of rent or due to the expiration of the lease’s term until the earlier of the termination of the civil emergency declared in the Proclamation of Civil Emergency dated March 13, 2020 or September 8, 2020.
  • Small business means any business entity, including a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity, that is owned and operated independently from all other businesses, and that has fifty or fewer employees per establishment or premises.
  • During this moratorium, an owner of property shall not enforce a contract or statutory remedy under a lease that would remove a small business or nonprofit tenant from its premises. These prohibited remedies include, but are not limited to, terminating the tenant’s lease or terminating the tenant’s right to possession of the premises.
  • During this moratorium, an owner of property also shall endeavor to enter into a payment plan, or other workout agreement to assist a distressed small business or nonprofit in rent relief, including but not limited to the deferred payment of rent, discount to rent, or other strategies to address the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 civil emergency.
  • No small business or nonprofit tenant shall incur late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment of rent during the moratorium.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Ocean Shores should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

Seattle, WA:

 

  • Mayor imposed a moratorium on small business and nonprofit tenant evictions for non-payment of rent or due to the expiration of the lease’s term until the earlier of the termination of the civil emergency declared in the Proclamation of Civil Emergency dated March 3, 2020 or May 16, 2020. The moratorium has been extended until August 1, 2020.
  • Small business means any business entity, including a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity, that is owned and operated independently from all other businesses, and that has fifty or fewer employees per establishment or premises.
  • During this moratorium, an owner of property shall not enforce a contract or statutory remedy under a lease that would remove a small business or nonprofit tenant from its premises. These prohibited remedies include, but are not limited to, terminating the tenant’s lease or terminating the tenant’s right to possession of the premises.
  • During this moratorium, an owner of property also shall endeavor to enter into a payment plan, or other workout agreement to assist a distressed small business or nonprofit in rent relief, including but not limited to the deferred payment of rent, discount to rent, or other strategies to address the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 civil emergency.
  • No small business or nonprofit tenant shall incur late fees, interest, or other charges due to late payment of rent during the moratorium.
  • This order likely affects self storage lien sales. Operators in Seattle should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales.

 

Seattle, WA

 

  • City Council passed an ordinance banning rent increases and late fees for small business and nonprofit tenants. The rent increase ban is in place until the city’s civil emergency ban is terminated. The late fee ban for non-payment is in place until March 2, 2021.
  • A small business or nonprofit tenant that fails to pay rent when due during or within six months after the termination of the city’s civil emergency may elect to pay its overdue rent in installments during that period on a payment schedule.
  • A written installment payment schedule shall be negotiated between the lessor and the small business or nonprofit for the payment of rent in arrears, provided that 1) the repayment schedule may not require the small business or nonprofit to pay, in addition to rent due for the month or period, more than 1/3 of late rent within any month or period following the month or period for which full rent was not paid unless agreed by the tenant, and 2) rent in arrears shall be paid in full to the lessor no later than one year after the termination of the city’s civil emergency.
  • “Small business” means any business entity, including a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity, that (1) is owned and operated independently from all other businesses (a franchisee with five or fewer franchise units shall be considered owned and operated independently from its franchisor); (2) has fifty or fewer employees per establishment or premises; (3) has either: been forced to close due to an emergency order issued by the Governor or Mayor; or has gross receipts from the previous calendar month of 2020 that are less than 70 percent of its gross receipts for the same month in 2019; and (4) is neither: a general sales and service business with ten or more establishments in operation located anywhere in the world; nor an entertainment use business with five or more establishments in operation located anywhere in the world.

 

Spokane, WA

 

  • The Mayor ordered a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions.
  • While this moratorium is in effect, a lessor of residential or commercial real property in the city of Spokane shall not initiate  an  unlawful  detainer  action,  issue  a  notice  of  termination,  or  otherwise  act  on  any  termination  notice, including any action or notice related to a residential or commercial rental agreement that has expired or will expire during the effective date of this moratorium, unless the unlawful detainer action or action on a termination notice is due to actions by the tenant constituting an imminent threat of damage to the property or to the health or safety of neighbors, the landlord, commercial lessor, or the  tenant’s or landlord’s household members.
  • No late fees or other charges due to late payment of rent shall accrue during the moratorium.
  • Nothing in this ordinance prohibits a commercial lessor or landlord from seeking a no contact and/or exclusion order against any person who presents a significant threat to the health and safety of others or is likely to damage the property.
  • The moratorium remains in effect until April 30, 2020.

 

  • The Mayor also ordered a moratorium on all foreclosure actions, including notices of default, for properties located in the City of Spokane, except for those foreclosures based on a financial instrument entered into after the signing of this Amended Declaration of Emergency.
  • These orders likely affect self storage lien sales and eviction actions. Operators in Spokane should consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any lien sales or eviction actions.

 

Spokane County, WA

 

  • The Spokane County Superior Court ordered that “All Unlawful Detainer evictions previously ordered are stayed until June 4, 2020.”

 

West Virginia:

 

  • No statewide commercial eviction moratorium is currently in place.

 

Wisconsin:

 

  • There are currently no statewide residential or commercial eviction or foreclosure restrictions in effect.

 

Wyoming:

 

  • Wyoming issued an order, suspending many in-person proceedings in all Circuit and District Courts and the Supreme Court in Wyoming from the close of business on March 18, 2020 to August 3, 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

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