The Board of Supervisors voted this week to extend a moratorium on evictions of commercial tenants through the end of January, but residential tenants are expected to lose similar protections under state law.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who recommended renewing protections for retail and industrial tenants who have been unable to pay rent, explained that the county can no longer offer the same deal to residential renters.
“Unfortunately, the county no longer has the authority to extend non-payment of rent protection to local residential tenants,” Kuehl said. “Today’s motion extends non-payment of rent protections to commercial tenants, and extends limited protections to residential tenants as permitted by law. I hope that L.A. County residents who fell behind on their rent during the pandemic act quickly to apply for the state’s Housing Is Key rent relief program.”
The state’s eviction moratorium expired Sept. 30 and is not expected to be renewed. However, residential tenants who fell behind in paying rent may be eligible for assistance under the state’s rent relief program.
Applications can be submitted at https://housing.ca.gov/covid_rr/ until available funding runs out.
The state has paid out roughly $300 million of an available $541 million under two separate allocations of federal COVID-19 funding, and there are more than 100,000 applications already in the queue, according to county staffers.
The board was able to renew protections against tenant harassment and retaliation under its COVID-19-related order. Those rules are intended to give tenants an affirmative defense against unjust evictions.
The board also expanded the conditions that allow landlords to move back into homes they previously rented out, as part of a plan to gradually lift all COVID-related rental market restrictions.
Supervisor Hilda Solis, who co-authored the motion, said the county’s aim is to move slowly enough in lifting protections to mitigate disruptive displacements that could increase homelessness countywide.
“Los Angeles County’s temporary tenant emergency protections have served as a safety net for both residential and commercial renters of the same communities that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Solis said.
“That is why we must continue to provide protections for those who are struggling to pay rent and on the verge of falling into homelessness.”