Archive for category Film

Do I need to pay my rent during the Covid-19 pandemic?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people about whether they should be paying their rent or mortgage during the pandemic. I’m also noticing a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about the various rent relief ordinances that have been put into play to help renters, so I thought I’d put out some information to help navigate it all and answer some questions. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. These ordinances have been changing, often and quickly, and it’s hard to keep up.

For example, on March 15, Mayor Garcetti said no one in the city of LA could be evicted for Covid 19 issues.  But then he issued a new order 2 days later, on March 17, clarifying that eviction trials would be delayed until April 16th.  This meant any evictions already in the pipelines were on hold. Then on March 23, he changed that date to June 22. And he expanded this “pause on evictions” to apply to not just cases where people can’t pay rent because of Covid-19, but also what are called no-fault evictions – such as evictions under the Ellis Act if a landlord needs you to move out because they are “going out of the rental business,” for example – which I won’t get into today.   This is just an example of how the orders are changing and have changed quickly sometimes in a matter of days.

What I’m going to do is go over what the laws are as of TODAY.

First off, although I’m a lawyer, I’m not your lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice.  This is just meant to sum up the current status of where the law stands on rent.  Second, landlord-tenant laws vary from state to state, and since I’m in Los Angeles, I’m going to focus on Los Angeles. If you’re not in Los Angeles and need info about your particular city or state, you will have to refer to your local laws

So, here are a few things you need to know:

DO I HAVE TO PAY MY RENT?

The short answer is yes, you are legally obligated to pay rent, even during the pandemic. Covid-19 doesn’t make that go away. Even if you don’t pay it now, you will have to pay it when all this over. This is really a deferral, not an excuse.  The ordinance says that if you can’t pay your rent now, then you have 12 months from when the pandemic is over to pay back the rent you owe.  The pandemic is officially “over” when the government announces we are no longer in a state of emergency.

Now, this is good but not great, because if you can’t pay it now, who says you can pay your regular rent PLUS however many months you owe in back rent when all this over? Some people are predicting we are only delaying the inevitable, and 12 months from now, we’re going to see a lot of evictions, and maybe even an increase in homelessness. Because of this, a lot of tenant rights advocates and pushing for actual relief from rent.  This gets tricky, though, because what about landlords that rely on their tenants paying rent? It ends up having a trickle down, or in this case, trickle up, effect.

 

WHAT IF I CAN’T PAY MY RENT?

 

First off, if you can afford to pay your rent, you should, because you’re going to owe it eventually.  But many people legitimately can’t – either because they lost their job, or they’re sick and they can’t work, or they’ve been ordered to stay inside and can’t work. About 1/3 of renters could not pay their rent in April.  If you are one of these people, the first thing you need to do is notify your landlord, in writing, ASAP, but no later than 7 days after rent is due. You should tell your landlord the reasons why (and make sure you say it is due to the pandemic). And then prepare and keep any evidence that you can’t pay because of how Covid-19 has impacted you – whether it is medical records that you were sick, or proof that you lost your job, or unemployment check stubs, if you’re self-employed, bank statements showing money isn’t coming in, emails where clients are canceling, etc. Anything you can think of that shows how Coronavirus is impacting your ability to pay rent.  You’re going to owe this money in 12 months or so, and if you don’t pay it by then and you face eviction, you’re going to need to show these documents to a judge in order to defend yourself.

BUT, and this is very important, you do NOT have to provide these documents to your landlord. Many landlords have sent out letters saying that you’re still obligated to pay rent and then suggesting that you can only defer paying rent if you can document how you have been affected – which is true, but some landlords are suggesting that you have to show them these documents to prove you can’t pay the rent. Again, this is NOT required under the ordinance, and if your landlord asks for proof, you can and should respectfully decline.  Your financial records are private and under no circumstances should you share them with anyone unless you must.

ALSO, and this is equally important, some landlords are asking tenants to sign documents agreeing to pay back the rent by a certain time. Do not sign anything your landlord gives you, at least without talking to a lawyer first. Under the current ordinance, you have 12 months from when the pandemic is over to pay back the rent. Some landlords are asking tenants to sign agreements promising to pay the rent back in less time. This is asking you to give up a right you have under the law, and between the law and the contract, the terms of the contract will prevail.  One corporate landlord even egregiously asked tenants to sign a document promising to turn over their stimulus checks to the landlord within 5 days of receiving them! Fortunately, tenants who received this letter were smart enough to reach out to tenants rights advocates, who then called out the landlord, and they ended up embarrassed and apologized.

 

CAN MY LANDLORD EVICT ME?

 During this emergency, you cannot be evicted from your home for not paying rent. Evictions are on hold until 90 days after the end of the Covid-19 state of emergency, except those dealing with public health and safety. First off, courts are closed until June 22nd, but even if the courts were open, the ordinance says a summons won’t be issued until 90 days after the governor removes the stay at home order.

 

SO, IN SUMMARY:

 

  • You are still legally obligated to pay rent, even during the pandemic;

 

  • If you can’t pay rent, immediately notify your landlord, in writing, no later than 7 days from the date rent is due, and state that it is due to the pandemic.

 

  • Keep any records of how the pandemic has impacted your ability to pay rent. Hang on to these, but DO NOT give your landlord any financial records or proof.

 

  • Do not sign anything your landlord gives you (without at least speaking to a lawyer).

 

  • Be prepared to pay back any rent you missed within 12 months of the pandemic being over.

 

  • You cannot be evicted for failing to pay rent until at least 90 days after the end of the pandemic. If your landlord tries to evict you after this 90 day period, that’s when you get to show the court your records showing how the pandemic affected your ability to pay.

 

Hope you guys found this useful!  If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I will do my best to answer. And if there are any other topics you’d like me to post about, feel free to DM me on @MitraEsq on Instagram.

 

Bye for now!

 

 

 

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What’s the Verdict: Marlon Wayan Creates Fifty Shades of Grey Spoof!

What’s the Verdict: Marlon Wayan Creates Fifty Shades of Grey Spoof!

Open Road Production company just bought the rights to Marlon Wayan’s new project, a spoof of the erotic thriller Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty shades of black. The company purchased the film rights for a cool $5 million, and plan on a late January of 2016 release date.

This isn’t Wayan’s first deal with the Open Road Production company. He had previously worked with them on his last film titled A Haunted House. Open road also has Michael Tiddes ties to the deal as a the film’s director, Tiddes also directed A Haunted House.

Wayan’s is also expected to make his appearance as Mr. Black alongside long time friend and collaborator Rick Alvarez. If his past work is any indication this film is sure to get some laughs. I love a good spoof and I cannot wait to see this one.

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What’s The Verdict: Will the success of Entourage mean an end to female driven storylines?

What’s The Verdict: Will the success of Entourage mean an end to female driven storylines?

Entourage may prove to be one of the biggest films of the summer, and even the year. Fandango reported that more than 50% of its online sales today have been for tickets to the anticipated film debut of the popular HBO series. The film, which aired special previews across the country this past Tuesday was already able to hit a $2 million in ticket sales record.

With these starting numbers Entourage is sure to break a couple of records. But what effect will this have on female driven films in the industry? Over the past coupe of years female driven casts have become more and more prominent. Even films that would have traditionally thought of as male driven have begun to feature strong female leads.

Mad Max, a film that was originally male driven featured several female protagonists in the remake released last month. For a while it seemed as though the trend of large ensemble cast type films was to integrate both female and male characters.

Entourage presents audiences with a change to this trend. The film is entirely male driven. While it does feature female characters and cameos the storyline, like the HBO show, will revolve around its male actors.

With the film projected to break a series of records for both summer films, and the industry in general, will its all male cast send a message to content creators? Will the industry revert back to featuring all male casts?

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Katie Holmes Going Behind the Camera?

Katie Holmes Going Behind the Camera?

The actress Katie Holmes has partnered with Mike Daniels, former Sons of Anarchy co-executive producer, for a victim advocate drama to be on Cinemax. Daniels will be writing the script and serve as a showrunner, but both Holmes and Daniels are executive producers. What is this ‘character-driven action drama; going to be about? The show will follow a victims’ rights advocate who is attacked by a stalker, but later returns to the dangerous streets of her past all in the name of justice.  I wonder what kind of action this entails.  Although the show has not yet been named, I’m already hooked on the suspense.  The film will be produced via Universal Television studios, which marks their first project for Cinemax. In being a fan of both Katie Holmes and Sons of Anarchy, my expectations are going to be high. Who else is going to watch?

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Attention: Screenwriters Looking To Get Picked Up

Warner Bros has signed a deal with Franklin Leonard’s “The Black List” to discover under-served screenwriters. Starting from Thanksgiving season this year, five new screenwriters will be recommended by WGA to Warner Bros every six months; one of which will be offered a two-step blind script deal worth approximately $93,000. Leonard said that the program will target certain demographics of writers, including “writers of color and women, but also older writers as well, with pre and early baby boomers […].” On top of this, here’s another catch: the chosen writers cannot have made more than $25,000 from screenwriting in their career, as the idea is to offer chances for new screenwriters to express their voices and ideas. For all the aspiring screenwriters out there, look out! This might be your chance!

Attention: Screenwriters Looking To Get Picked Up

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IMAX Dominating in Movie Theaters

IMAX Corporation has expanded its partnership with both Wanda Cinema Line Corporation, as well as AMC Theaters. The renewal of joint venture with Wanda includes an addition of up to 120 new IMAX Theaters in China, making Wanda the largest international partnership for IMAX. Similarly, AMC’s  (owned by Wanda Group) deal with IMAX includes up to 10 new IMAX theatres in the US, making them the largest IMAX exhibition partners in North America. These new commitments of expansion reflect IMAX’s goals for their development in the next-generation laser projection system, and showcase their confidence in bringing premiere cinematic experiences for everyone in entertainment. 

Read more on: IMAX Super-Sizes Partnership Deals With AMC Theaters And Wanda

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Disney Fans, Rejoice!

For all you Disney fans out there…get excited! Walt Disney Records and Amazon have just signed a deal to release out-of print titles and certain Disney classic films. These soundtracks and songs will be released through Amazon’s service – CreateSpace.

Although the terms of negotiation is not available to the public, we know that there are already 18 titles in the DIsney CD Rarities section on Amazon.com as of now. Now stay in tune, as new titles will be added to the Disney Music Store every month, from the most recent films such as “The Avengers” to classic films from the 90s!

So Disney fans of all ages, you will now have the convenience of Amazon.com to reconnect with your childhood Disney memories, or stay connected with the current Disney music!

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