Here are the most frequently asked questions related to the City Council and the Mayor’s actions affecting Angeleno tenants and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL AS OF THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2020?
Renters who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can stay in their homes due to an eviction protection ordinance!
The emergency citywide ordinance that was unanimously approved on Friday, March 27, 2020, protects tenants of both residential and commercial properties from eviction due to financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City Council expanded upon an earlier directive issued by Mayor Garcetti and voted unanimously to waive late fees, prohibit evictions for additional tenants, guests and pets, and extend the payback period to 12 months for residential units (three months for commercial). The ordinance pertains to all Angelenos. Subsequently, the Mayor also announced a freeze on rent increases in all Rent Stabilized Units effective March 30th.
I HEARD THE CITY COUNCIL TURNED DOWN STRONGER EVICTION PROTECTION AMENDMENTS. IS THIS TRUE?
After Councilmember Koretz proposed a ban on any new court filings of evictions during the Local Emergency but before it was voted upon, Councilmember Mike Bonin proposed a broader amendment to the COVID-19-related eviction protection ordinance in the form of a blanket ban on all evictions. The City Attorney argued that such a blanket action would go beyond what Governor Newsom’s Emergency Declaration allowed cities and counties to do.Councilmember Koretz and six of his colleagues disagreed and voted for the Bonin amendment, but it required a majority vote of eight and thus failed.
I HEARD THAT CITY COUNCIL DID NOT VOTE FOR A RENT FREEZE.
IS THIS TRUE?
There has been no vote taken to enact a rent freeze.
There was a proposal introduced to hold an immediate vote to request the City Attorney to draft an ordinance to freeze rent increases. For a vote on a new proposal, legal findings must first be established in order for the City Council to act.This was not possible with such short notice, per the City Attorney.
Subsequently on March 30th, Mayor Garcetti issued a mayoral directive freezing rents in Rent Stabilized (rent-controlled) apartment units for the duration of the Local Emergency plus 60 days.
WHAT IF THE CITY’S RENT ACTIONS CAUSE LANDLORDS DIFFICULTY IN PAYING THEIR MORTGAGE?
The Mayor, City Council, and others are working with the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) to develop an emergency rent subsidy program that could assist building owners who are in jeopardy of defaulting to avoid doing so.A default could lead to foreclosure, with buildings falling into the hands of large corporate owners who historically have been less sensitive to tenant concerns. When such a program is ready to launch, the City will make sure the public hears about it.
Additionally, mortgage payment delays are being discussed by both the State of California and the federal government, and help may be made available in the near future.”Mom and pop” landlords may be eligible for help from small business provisions of the recently-approved CARES Act. Owners should consult with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Federal National Mortgage Association and/or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation for more information on mortgage issues.
Greg Martayan on Councilmember Koretz’ staff is available to walk business owners through the process. He can be reached at 213-505-8420. If you have any further questions about tenant protection legislation, please contact James.Bickhart@lacity.org or 213-473-7005.
Also the Housing + Community Investment Department offers a special hotline that is available at 1-866-557-7368 M-F 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Also, to protect commercial property owners, Council prohibited large, multi-national, and/or publicly traded corporations from being able to defer rent payments in commercial properties. Companies that can still afford to pay their rent, should pay. City Council is also strongly encouraging residential tenants who haven’t lost their jobs or their financial means to keep paying their rent! This could be the difference between keeping your landlord out of foreclosure.
State and Federal unemployment benefits. Under recent Congressional actions, employees and laid-off employees, freelancers and struggling independent workers can continue receiving income during the pandemic. The Federal relief package recently signed into law provides expanded unemployment benefits, combined with the state, up to 100% of a worker’s current weekly pay through the end of July. Loan and grant programs to small- and medium-sized businesses can be obtained to allow them to keep employees on the payroll for up to eight weeks, thus helping both the businesses and employees alike to avoid at least some of the economic devastation this emergency could otherwise cause. Please visit edd.ca.gov for information on how to file an unemployment claim.
WHAT IS OR ISN’T ALLOWED UNDER THE CITY’S COVID-19-RELATED EVICTION REGULATIONS?
HCID has put together a list of frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 regulations regarding evictions, rents and rent repayment. Please refer to the HCID website for more information.
We know these are really confusing times and that new information is changing quickly, so please continue to check and verify official information through these credible resources:
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health: http://ph.lacounty.gov/
- City of LA Emergency Coronavirus Info: https://corona-virus.la/
- CD5 Resources: http://www.
- Visit the Los Angeles County website: http://lacounty.gov/covid19
- Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/
- Los Angeles Unified School District: https://achieve.lausd.net
- Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority: https://www.lahsa.
- Sign up for emergency notifications from the City of LA at NotifyLA.com
- Text your zip code to the number 888777 to receive emergency text alerts
- Call 3-1-1 for City of Los Angeles Service and referral hotline
- Call 2-1-1 – Los Angeles Countys 24/7 emergency and referral hotline