LA County Extends Eviction Moratorium, Financial Relief Provided for Landlords

The County of Los Angeles has Voted to Extend Tenant Protections

The LA County Board of Supervisors has voted to expand the pandemic-era eviction moratorium just one week before it was set to expire on January 31st. The controversial extension is for two months, until March 31st, 2023. This is a reduction of the original six months proposed by supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Hilda Solis. Here’s what we know.

The moratorium protects tenants from rent increases and no-fault evictions. This protection only covers tenants whose household income was at or below 80% the area median income of their zip code. The median household income for LA County is $77,456.  

This expansion also comes with an additional $45 million in relief funds for landlords who have been unable to collect rents. It provides assistance of up to $30,000 per rental unit. If a property owner accepts the relief funds, however, they must agree to not evict tenants for non-payment of rent. 

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the only board member opposed to the expansion, introduced a motion requesting county forgiveness or postponement of tax payments on properties affected. 

Los Angeles Eviction Moratorium
Los Angeles City Skyline

Los Angeles City 

The city of LA also expanded its moratorium with additional protection for tenants. This expansion includes 400,000 new households since properties built before 1978 fall under the city’s rent control system (LARSO). Tenants would have to owe more than one month’s worth of “fair market rent” as determined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development before a landlord can file for an eviction. 

Fair market rents in the Los Angeles area are as follows:

  • $1,534 for a studio apartment
  • $1,747 for a one-bedroom apartment
  • $2,222 for a two-bedroom apartment
  • $2,888 for a three-bedroom apartment
  • $3,170 for a four-bedroom apartment

Roommates 

The city council also extended rules against eviction of tenants who brought unauthorized roommates. Landlords have the right to approve the additional adult occupant but may not unreasonably withhold approval. In other words, the landlord cannot claim a basis for termination just because a tenant allows one adult occupant into the rental unit. If, however, the lease requires any adult living in the unit to meet occupancy requirements and tenants fail to do so, that may be considered appropriate withholding of approval and grounds to serve a notice demanding removal of the additional adult occupant.

Pets

Similar to the roommate situation, landlords may not change the rental agreement to prohibit pets if they were previously allowed, unless the pet becomes a nuisance and the tenant was given an opportunity to fix the nuisance. This extension is until January 20th, 2024.

Rent Hikes

Rent hikes remain banned in the city’s rent-controlled housing until February of 2024. Properties that are rent-controlled by the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (which allows for maximum rent increases of 5% + inflation for a max of 10%) will continue to be rent controlled by the state law, applicable to all cities. 

Evictions

This moratorium also includes a universal just cause eviction protection, where landlords are unable to evict a tenant unless it’s for:

  • Failure to pay Rent
  • Breach of Rental Agreement
  • Creating a Nuisance
  • Unlawful Purpose
  • Replacement of Resident Manager
  • Demolishment or substantial Renovation, or 
  • if the landlord or a relative needs to move in. 

Landlords seeking to evict tenants without just cause would be liable for relocation assistance. Landlords would be required to pay three months of fair market rent to the tenant if they are forced to move due to a rent increase exceeding 10%. Payment may be provided either as a monetary payment or credit to the tenant. In some instances, landlords may also be required to pay the City additional fees to compensate it for providing assistance through its Relocation Assistance Service Provider. Relocation assistance is not required where the landlord is replacing an existing resident manager, or when the Los Angeles Housing Department (“LAHD”) has determined that the unit is unsafe or hazardous due to natural causes such as earthquakes, floods, etc. 

Any notice of termination must include as many details as possible, including dates, places, and witness names. A copy of all legal notices must be sent to LAHD and to the tenant. 

Exemptions

As previously mentioned, this new expansion will not apply to rental units that fall under the city’s original rental ordinance. These are rental units built before 1978.  

  • Rental units subject to LARSO (except for certain provisions which also apply to LARSO units)
  • Transient or tourist hotel occupancy
  • Housing accommodations in a hospital, religious facility, extended care facility, etc.
  • Housing accommodations operated by an institution of higher education, high school, or elementary school for occupancy by students
  • Housing accommodations where tenant shares bathroom or kitchen with owner who also resides at property
  • Dwelling unit in nonprofit stock cooperative occupied by shareholder tenant
  • Housing accommodations in limited equity housing cooperatives
  • Housing accommodations in an Interim Motel Housing Project
  • Housing accommodations in nonprofit treatment facility for substance abuse recovery
  • Housing accommodations in nonprofit facility with primary purpose of helping homeless obtain skills for independent living
  • Occupancy in housing accommodation leased or paid for by government agency for purpose of helping homeless obtain transitional housing
  • Housing accommodations owned, operated, or managed by City of Los Angeles Housing Authority or other government agency specifically exempted from local eviction regulations

These expansions were opposed by landlords and apartment associations, who have dealt with increased operational costs and fear losing their properties. 

Meanwhile, renters rights groups heavily supported the expansion, warning of a rise of homeless families if protections are not enacted.

Final Words

Here at Access compliance is our priority. Therefore, staying up to date with new real estate legislation is key to providing the best service to our clients. We hope that this was able to assist you in understanding the new moratorium in place.

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Access Asset Management, Inc is a property management company offering reliable property management solutions to renters and homeowners in Southern California.

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