LA extends and introduces new renter protections
Certain COVID-19 renter protections ended last week, and in response, the city of Los Angeles has extended some of the emergency protections to ensure renters are protected against unlawful eviction.
“As we work to bring Angelenos inside, we also have to work to prevent Angelenos from falling into homelessness,” a statement from Mayor Karen Bass’ office said.
“Even if you are not impacted by the end of the COVID-19 emergency protections, please share the information with your networks,” the statement continued. “No one in our city should face any form of housing discrimination or an unlawful eviction.”
The city has extended and introduced new protections that will provide several resources for renters across the city, including:
- Prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants who fall behind on rent unless the tenant owes an amount higher than the fair market rent; these values are $1,534 for an efficiency/studio, $1,747 for a one-bedroom, $2,222 for a two-bedroom, $2,888 for a three-bedroom and $3,170 for a four-bedroom;
- Requiring that landlords provide a legal reason for eviction in writing;
- Extending eviction protections for unauthorized pets and additional tenants due to COVID-19 through Jan. 31, 2024;
- Extending the suspension of rent increases in rent-stabilized housing until Feb. 1, 2024, so a landlord cannot increase rent until then for those who live in a stabilized rent unit;
- Tenants who do not live in a rent-stabilized unit who receive a legal rent increase of more than 10% within 12 months have the option to pay the rent increase or have their landlord pay them relocation assistance to move out of their rental unit;
- Requiring landlords to file all termination notices with the Housing Department within three days of issuing the notice; failure to file the notices provides an affirmative defense to an eviction;
- Requiring landlords to provide Notice of Renter’s Protections to new and renewing tenants and to post the notice in an accessible common area of the property.
Officials are also promoting the Stay Housed LA website, at bit.ly/3KA3xm5, which lists free information and legal assistance to tenants facing wrongful eviction. The website was formed via a partnership between the city, LA County, local community groups and legal service providers.
Additionally, even tenants in rental units built after Oct. 1, 1978 will be included under the city’s Just Cause Eviction Protection Ordinance — protecting them from evictions other than “just cause.”
Tenants who provided their landlords with a COVID-related declaration of financial distress form by the 15-day deadline for rent owed from March 2020 through August 2020 cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent from that period. However, landlords can pursue action in small claims court for this rent.
For tenants who are not covered by the declaration of financial distress process, city law may continue to protect against eviction for unpaid COVID-19 rental debt. For unpaid rent owed from March 2020 to September 2021, tenants have until August 2023 to pay the rent before an eviction may occur.
The Los Angeles Housing Department will accept tenant complaints and inform landlords and tenants of the requirements of renter protections, then conduct an investigation into the matter. Complaints will be assigned to a housing investigator, who will investigate the tenant’s claim and advise the landlord and tenant of their findings.
More information on these measures and other resources can be found at bit.ly/416ncPU.