LA City Council Extends Eviction Moratorium

Eviction protections remain in place through August 2023

By Dolores Quintana

Los Angeles City Council has extended its eviction moratorium, despite pleas from landlords not to do so.  

Mayor Garcetti issued a temporary moratorium on evictions on March 23 of 2020 and the Los Angeles City Council passed Ordinance 186585 which added Article 14.6 to the Los Angeles Municipal Code to temporarily prohibit certain residential and commercial evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and went into effect on March 31, 2020. Additional renter protections were put into place on May 12, 2020, with the passage of Ordinance No. 186606. 

This week LA City Council meeting held a vote on whether or not to continue extending the moratorium and many speakers on both sides passionately let their views be known during the public hearing’s comment section. 

The vote was 11 Council members in favor and one against. The one no vote was City Council member John Lee. 

“If it doesn’t have an end date in sight, unfortunately these small property owners are left in limbo,” Lee told City News Service. “These people have to plan and make those decisions. Do they take out another loan to keep their property alive if they see the light at the end of the tunnel? We want to set that date so they can move forward with their decision.”

Eviction protections for non-payment of rent due to the economic impact of COVID-19 will now remain in place through August 2023, or up to 12 months following the end of the declaration of the city’s local emergency.

“If we get rid of those protections, it’s going to be even worse,” Sergio Vargas, lead organizer for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment told City News Service. “We are still recovering from the economic collapse of COVID-19. It makes no sense they’re going to get rid of protections at this point when tenants are still recovering. Tenants still fear getting COVID.”

At the meeting, many mom and pop landlords spoke out against the moratorium

“Policymakers focus on tenant voting numbers and corporate interests, and they ignore the social contributions and rights of mom-and-pop landlords,” said Audre Lopez-King, a small rental property owner who says her income is now a quarter of what it was prior to the pandemic. “We are forced to bear the cost of tenant cost issues and the city’s homelessness crisis.” 

Angelina Jimenez, a homeowner and landlord with two tenants, echoed these concerns in Spanish during the meeting,

 “In the last two years I have been supporting them [her tenants] and in the last two years things have been tough for me too. Money has been tight,” Jimenez said.  

City Councilmember Marqueece Harris Dawson addressed some of these concerns at the council meeting. 

 “I think that we do need to protect our tenants and to protect small mom and pop landlords and I appreciate Mr. Lee’s comments about small mom and pop landlords but the thing that I would say is that I think we talk about small mom and pop landlords and then we put forward policies that protect the big corporate landlords. I think we don’t have to think of this as just one category. Just as we think of tenants at different income levels, we can think of landlords at income levels. I would suggest that we complicate this matter a little bit more and think critically about what we can do and how we can lead on this matter,” Dawson said.

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