Los Angeles City Council committee recommends end date for city’s COVID eviction moratorium

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A board committee recommended on Wednesday that protections against evictions from Los Angeles due to COVID-19 hardship end Jan. 31, setting a potential end date for the moratorium established at the start of the pandemic to be subject to the full council.

Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment voted 4-0 against sunset protections for tenants unable to pay rent due to the financial impact of COVID-19. 19. The committee’s recommendation follows discussion by the council’s housing committee earlier this month, in which it approved an amendment to the Los Angeles Department of Housing’s report that would expand eviction protections beyond the council’s recommendation. December 31 from the LAHD.

“We consider our moratorium to be one of the strongest tenant protections in the country, and we’ve kept these protections in place longer than nearly any other municipality in the state,” Council Speaker Nury said. Martinez. “We need to put in place long-term protections for our tenants while safeguarding the economic well-being of our small family landlords.”

The committee approved the housing department’s recommendations, with amendments from Martinez, who also chairs the committee. Recommendations included relocation assistance for all evictions deemed no-fault evictions and no-fault eviction protections for unauthorized pets for an additional year.

The committee Wednesday was made up of Martinez, councilors Gil Cedillo, Mitch O’Farrell and Marqueece Harris-Dawson. Councilman Curren Price was absent.

If approved by council, tenants who have missed payments since March 2020 would have to meet two repayment deadlines. Under state law, they would have until August 1, 2023 to repay rent missed between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. Under the city’s moratorium, tenants would have until February 1 2024 to repay accrued rent. from October 1, 2021 to February 1, 2023.

Landlords could start raising rent again for rent-controlled apartments, which make up three-quarters of apartments in Los Angeles, starting in February 2024.

As in previous meetings on the eviction moratorium, the committee heard a mix of tenants in favor of extending protections and family landlords asking to end the moratorium.

“There’s enough on both sides here to make people upset,” Cedillo said. “It’s probably the best deal we can make.”

Cedillo added that the challenge facing the board is “how do we move away from this pandemic?”

“It’s without knowing it. It’s going to be difficult. It’s not going to be precise or accurate,” Cedillo said. “But we have to be as nuanced as possible, as thoughtful as possible. It’s wide, but we have to pay attention to the corners, to the details, because there is no one size fits all.”

Earlier Wednesday, O’Farrell offered a $3 million rental assistance package for tenants and landlords in the 13th Ward. O’Farrell’s proposal, pending council approval, would provide up to $5,000 per household to renters in his district who earn 80% or less of the area’s median income, or AMI.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now when it comes to eviction protections in Los Angeles,” O’Farrell said. “It’s going to help people stay in their homes as we go through this uncertainty as the eviction moratorium begins to wear off.”

The state’s COVID-19 rent relief program closed its applications on March 31.

Tenants and homeowners in the 13th Arrondissement could apply for O’Farrell’s proposed program, which would be run by the city’s housing department. Landlords would receive the back rent. O’Farrell said the aim was to help people stay housed, but also to help homeowners who have been overwhelmed.

“We want the majority of rental properties in Los Angeles to be owned by smaller family landlords, not larger LLCs and corporations,” O’Farrell said. “We know this is their small business and they have tenants. We want to support this rental housing market ecosystem.”

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