Mitch O'Farrell at LA City Council Meeting - Photo courtesy of LACity.org livestream on 3/22/2022

With Los Angeles’ pandemic-era rental protections likely to expire soon, City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said Wednesday he wants to establish a $3 million rental aid program for tenants and landlords in the 13th District.

Several council committees are discussing a potential end date for the city’s rental protections, with the Los Angeles Housing Department recommending that the eviction moratorium and other measures be lifted at the end of the year. The council’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment was set to take up the item later Wednesday and potentially issue its own recommendation for the full council.

O’Farrell’s proposal would provide up to $5,000 per household for renters in his district who make 80% or less of the area median income, or AMI.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now in relation to eviction protections in Los Angeles,” O’Farrell said. “This is going to help people stay in their homes while we work through that uncertainty, as the eviction moratorium begins to sunset.”

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

Both renters and landlords in the 13th District could apply to O’Farrell’s proposed program, which would be run through the city’s housing department. Landlords would receive the back rent. O’Farrell said the goal is to help people stay housed, but also assist mom-and-pop landlords who have been burdened.

“We want to maintain the majority of rental properties in Los Angeles being owned by smaller, mom-and-pop landlords, not bigger LLCs and corporations,” O’Farrell said. “We know that this is their small business, and they have renters. We want to support that ecosystem of the rental housing market.”

O’Farrell’s West LA district has the highest number of rental and multi-family units in Los Angeles, according to Anna Ortega, assistant general manager of the city’s housing department.

If approved by the council, the program would open to applications on Oct. 24 for two weeks. O’Farrell said it is unclear how many people the program would help until it is fully subscribed, but his office noted it is expected to assist “thousands” of renters and mom-and-pop landlords in the district.

A $1 million program he introduced at the beginning of the pandemic providing $2,000 per household aided around 500 households, according to O’Farrell’s office.

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