One of the longest-running eviction bans in the country is set to last even longer.Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a extend one month Evictions suspended, citing rising cases of COVID, flu and other respiratory illnesses.
A sort of Motion approved The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week banned evictions of low-income delinquent tenants who claim COVID-19-related financial hardship through the end of January 2023. Tenants also cannot be evicted and occupants for causing a nuisance or keeping unauthorized pets.
The same motion asks county staff to study the feasibility of extending the moratorium through the end of June 2023 or more than three years beyond the May 31, 2020, originally scheduled expiration date of the county’s eviction moratorium.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates our housing crisis, experts fear a ‘tsunami of evictions’ is looming if we don’t act boldly and quickly,” Say Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis tweeted last week, shortly before the board approved the one-month extension. “Our family needs at least 6 additional months of eviction protection.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated our housing crisis, and experts worry that an “eviction tsunami” is looming if we don’t act boldly and quickly. At no time, but especially during a pandemic, families should not be forced to leave their homes and communities.
— Hilda Solis (@HildaSolis) December 20, 2022
Landlords say the county’s decision jeopardizes their businesses in the name of responding to a long-gone emergency.
“We just don’t know where it’s going to end up at this point,” said Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA). Having to deal with COVID in your own family.”
AAGLA is currently suing the county in federal court over the moratorium on evictions. They received a minor reprieve in October when the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted a preliminary injunction preventing the enforcement of parts of the county’s injunction.
The court ruled that the county’s prohibition on landlords serving eviction notices to tenants unless the landlord reasonably believes the tenant’s self-certified COVID financial hardship claim is false violates landlords’ due process rights.
In response to the ruling, the county updated the moratorium in November, removing the ability for tenants to self-certify that they have experienced COVID-related hardship and defining more clearly what constitutes COVID-related hardship.
The policy was supposed to end by the end of the year. The supervisory board said the extension to the end of January was necessary given the “respiratory trifecta” of COVID, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases.
The city of Los Angeles’ eviction moratorium, which AAGLA is also challenging in court, also expires at the end of January.
The federal government, nearly all states and many local governments have moratoriums on evictions for non-paying rent Early stage of the epidemic. Proponents of the moratorium argue that the policies are necessary to protect the ability of unemployed tenants to comply with the lockdowns, which also cost them their jobs and their ability to pay rent.
Lockdowns are finally over, vaccines are widely available, and people are going back to work. Still, the moratorium remains in place, making it necessary now to provide more time for federally-funded rental assistance to help tenants who accumulated large rental debts while the eviction ban was in place. Tenant advocates claim that ending the moratorium before then would lead to a “tsunami of evictions”.
Federal rental assistance has Now most of it is spentThe federal moratorium on evictions was struck down by the Supreme Court, and expel the tsunami Never fully realized. A widespread, belated return to normalcy has seen the end of nearly all remaining state and local eviction bans.
But Los Angeles officials proved more reluctant to let their ban expire. Politically, the eviction ban is a policy that is hard to get rid of.
Warnings of a “tsunami” of evictions during a pandemic are always overblown. In a depressed rental market, landlords benefit little from the cost of eviction and surrender of the unit.
A hot post-pandemic rental market, combined with the fact that some tenants have accumulated large amounts of unpayable rent debt during the nearly three-year moratorium, means landlords have even greater incentive to evict.
As a result, Los Angeles officials are warning that evictions will increase significantly if the end of the county moratorium is not entirely unwarranted. At this point, continually extending it just postpones an inevitable outcome while further jeopardizing the financial situation of the landlord, currently in arrears with the tenant.
To help small landlords weather the financial impact of the moratorium, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors is also considering a $5 million bailout package.
Yukelson said that was a drop in the bucket compared to the billions in unpaid rent that the moratorium imposed on landlords. He said the financial pressure of the moratorium has forced some AAGLA members and their properties out of the rental market entirely.
“These small business owners are not going to want to stay in the business,” he said.