As COVID-19 Eviction Deadline Looms, LA City Council Considers New Protections For Renters – LAist

Topline:

With local COVID-19 eviction protections set to expire after Jan. 31, the Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote this week on a package of new policies aimed at keeping renters housed.

Why it matters: Even with COVID-19 vaccines available and unemployment down, many L.A. renters have not fully recovered from the pandemic. An estimated 226,000 L.A. area households remain behind on their rent. Once L.A.’s COVID-19 tenant protections expire in February, many will soon be more vulnerable to eviction — unless local lawmakers enact new protections.

Why now: Despite efforts to extend the COVID-19 rules further into 2023, city council members have for months been targeting Jan. 31 as the end-date for local eviction protections. L.A. County’s pandemic tenant regulations are currently set to expire at the same time.

What’s next: The city council’s housing committee will discuss a number of potential policy changes on Wednesday. Then the proposals will go to a vote in the full council on Friday. Those proposals include:

  • Expanding rules that require landlords to provide a justified reason for evicting a tenant — also known as “just cause.” This protection already exists for tenants living in apartments covered by the city’s rent control law. The city council is now looking to expand “just cause” eviction protections to other housing units, where pre-pandemic rules allowed landlords to evict tenants without a specified reason.
  • Requiring landlords to make relocation payments to tenants hit by annual rent hikes above 10%. The details of how this could work get a bit complicated: Tenants in rent-controlled housing in the city of L.A. will still be covered by a rent freeze until Feb. 2024. Those in housing without rent control may be covered by a state law banning annual rent hikes of more than 10%. But tenants in more recently built housing can receive rent hikes of any amount. If passed, this proposal would require landlords to compensate tenants hit by large rent hikes that lead to “economic displacement.”
  • Preventing evictions over non-payment of rent until a tenant has fallen behind by more than one month’s worth of “fair market rent” in the Los Angeles metro area, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This policy would mirror a protection already passed in certain parts of L.A. County.
  • Allowing unauthorized occupants and pets who moved in during the pandemic to remain in place until Jan. 31, 2024. Under the city’s COVID protections so far, tenants have been protected from eviction for bringing in additional roommates and pets. 

Go deeper: Pressure Mounts To Extend COVID Eviction Protections, But So Far, LA Council Doesn’t Budge

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