California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order Monday night halting foreclosures and evictions in the state while also directing the state utilities commission to monitor efforts by companies to prevent utility shutoffs.
An order issued by the governor’s office Monday night temporarily authorizes local governments to halt evictions and directs the state’s Department of Business Oversight and Housing agency to collaborate on efforts to help Californians avoid foreclosure.
The efforts come as the state is seeking to slow the spread of coronavirus, and comes as public officials have faced criticism from progressive activists for not doing more to halt evictions and provide rent relief amid the outbreak, which has sickened thousands and caused thousands more to suffer lost wages due to shuttered businesses.
“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” said Newsom. “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.”
Newsom’s order will remain in effect through the end of May.
More than 170,000 people have been sickened worldwide by the virus, including 473 confirmed cases in the state.
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. The protections are in effect through May 31, 2020, unless extended. The order also requests banks and other financial institutions to halt foreclosures and related evictions during this time period.
The Governor’s Executive Order asks 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.
The full Executive Order can be found here.