Los Angeles officials Thursday gathered with tenant rights advocates to spread the word that the city’s eviction moratorium is still in effect, despite the state moratorium’s expiration.
“Despite what you may be hearing, we want you to know that the city’s eviction protections remain in place, do not expire and have been upheld in the courts,” Faizah Malik, senior staff attorney for Public Counsel, said.
While the statewide eviction moratorium is set to expire Thursday, the city’s moratorium is tied to its “Local Emergency Period.”
The moratorium protects tenants with unpaid rent due to COVID-19 until a year after the emergency ends. No-fault evictions, such as for owner occupancy, and Ellis Act evictions are also prohibited during the Local Emergency Period.
“Based on local emergency conditions, the council and the mayor have been renewing this month to month. The latest renewal was just this last week, and so the emergency declaration will continue at least until Oct. 24, which means that the city eviction moratorium will continue at least until Oct. 24, 2022,” Los Angeles Housing Department General Manager Ann Sewill said.
Sewill urged people to apply for rental assistance through the state’s Housing Is Key program, which has committed $5.2 billion in rental assistance. Gov. Gavin Newsom says the funding is enough to pay 100% of owed rent for low-income renters affected by the pandemic, and people are eligible for the assistance regardless of their immigration status. Los Angeles renters owe an estimated $1 billion in rent due to the pandemic.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to extend its moratorium on evictions of commercial tenants through the end of January, but it doesn’t apply to residential tenants.
“Today we gather as tens of thousands of Angelenos remain behind on their rents. They’re the most vulnerable residents in all of Los Angeles, facing thousands of dollars in rent debt that they simply cannot pay due to COVID-19,” Councilman Kevin de León said.
“The only thing that’s standing between them keeping a roof over their had and living out on the streets is an eviction moratorium in the city of Los Angeles.”
Councilman Curren Price said officials Thursday were spreading the word about Los Angeles’ protections “to ease people’s minds and to ensure that they know what their rights are.”
Councilwoman Nithya Raman noted that a majority of Los Angeles’ residents are renters, not homeowners, and that renters in Los Angeles are now also protected against harassment from their landlords.
The city’s new ordinance protecting tenants from harassment went into effect on Aug. 6. It defines tenant harassment in several ways, including reducing or eliminating housing services, such as parking; failing to perform necessary repairs and maintenance; abusing the right to access a rental unit; threatening a tenant with physical harm; misrepresenting to a tenant that he or she is required to vacate the unit; refusing to accept rent payments; and inquiring about a tenant’s immigration status.
Through amendments from Raman, the ordinance also includes tactics such as coercing a tenant to vacate with offers of payment; failing to perform necessary repairs on time as required by federal, state, county or local housing, health or safety laws; failing to minimize exposure to noise, dust, lead paint, asbestos and other harmful building materials; and interfering with the comfort, peace or quiet of a tenant.
Renters can apply for assistance at housingiskey.com.