Citing continued impacts of the pandemic on small businesses and renters, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to extend its eviction moratorium through September 30 - with some tweaks.
"While the County is seeing lowered rates of COVID-19 cases, the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and the threat of becoming homeless still remain challenges to residential tenants," reads a motion introduced by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl. "Additionally, the economic hardships of the pandemic still weigh heavily on commercial tenants, especially those who were required to fully or partially close their businesses to protect our health. Many County residents have lost their jobs and have either no income or reduced income, and many businesses still have a long journey to economic recovery."
While many cities and counties passed protections against residential and commercial evictions near the onset of the pandemic over one year ago, those rules were pre-empted by statewide legislation between mid-2020 and early 2021. However, existing state-level protections are scheduled to expire after June 30, and may not be extended.
Under the county moratorium approved earlier today, evictions would continue to be prohibited based on non-payment of rent due to COVID-19-related financial hardship, as well as the inability to cover back rent under the terms of a payment plan.
The revised moratorium includes a new exception for property owners who purchased a single-family home on or before June 30 with the intention of using it as their primary residence, or granting its use to a family member. However, such tenants will only be eligible for eviction if:
- they have been able to pay rent and have not faced financial impacts from COVID-19; and
- the landlord or landlord's family member is "similarly situated" to the tenant (i.e. a disabled tenant may only be displaced for a property owner or family member who is also disabled).
Landlords are required to provide 60 days written notice to tenants, and pay relocation benefits as required by local jurisdictions of the County Code.
Additionally, landlords are required to demonstrate good faith by either moving into, or having their family member move into the home within 60 days of the tenant vacating the property, and continue living at the home for at least 36 consecutive months.
While the expiration date for statewide protections fast approaches - although legislators are weighing an extension - California renters and landlords will be able to move forward without being weighed down by rental debt accrued during the pandemic. Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that federal stimulus money will be used to pay off all past-due rent statewide.