Los Angeles, California COVID-19 Eviction Protections have Expired

After being in place for three years, as of April 1, 2023 the COVID-19 eviction protection for Los Angeles residents has expired.

Beginning April 1, 2023, renters must pay their full current monthly rent to avoid eviction for non-payment of rent. Renters still have time to pay back COVID-19 rental debt accumulated from March 2020 through March 2024. Tenants who receive an eviction complaint called an Unlawful Detainer for unpaid rent, must file an answer with the court within FIVE DAYS or risk losing by default without ever getting a trial. Please contact stayhousedla.org or call (888) 694-0040.

Lawmakers enacted COVID-19 protections that caused evictions across the region to drop. In L.A. County, eviction court filings fell by about 83%, and evictions served by the sheriff’s department declined by about 85% compared with the same period in 2019. However, by late 2022, evictions had returned to pre-pandemic levels, even with L.A. County’s COVID-19 limits still in place. During the pandemic, landlords filed over 54,000 eviction court cases, and nearly 15,000 evictions were carried out between April 2020 and December 2022. While some tenants stayed housed after invoking the county’s COVID-19 eviction rules in court, others were caught off guard when they had to defend themselves from eviction. The L.A. City Council recently voted in favor of pursuing a “right to counsel” ordinance, which if passed into law, would provide free attorneys to renters in the city facing an eviction. However, landlords argue that even if eviction filings and lockouts have risen in recent months, the numbers are still significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Annual rent increases are currently prohibited for rental units subject to the City of Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) through January 31, 2024. To find out if your unit is subject to the RSO, click HERE (zimas.lacity.org). Enter your address, click the Housing tab, and RSO status will be indicated for the property.

 

WHAT PROTECTIONS ARE BEING EXTENDED BEYOND MARCH 31, 2023?

For residential tenants and mobilehome space renters who utilized the County’s non-payment of rent protections between July 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023:

    • Protected against eviction for No-Fault evictions reasons, except for qualified Owner Move-in
    • Anti-harassment and retaliation protections during the Resolution’s protection periods
    • Starting April 1, 2023, landlords are required to serve tenants with a written 30-Day Notice prior to filing an eviction based on nonpayment of rent for rent accrued between July 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023.

For residential tenants and mobilehome space renters with unauthorized occupants or pets due to COVID-19 who began residing in the unit between March 1, 2020 and January 20, 2023:

      • Anti-harassment and retaliation protections during the Resolution’s protection periods
      • Starting April 1, 2023, landlords are required to serve tenants with a written 30-Day Notice prior to filing an eviction based for the presence of unauthorized occupants or pets

WHAT SHOULD TENANTS DO IF THEY ARE UNABLE TO PAY RENT THROUGH MARCH 31, 2023?

If qualifying tenants are unable to pay rent, they must notify their landlord within seven (7) days of the rent being due, unless extenuating circumstances exist.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT PROTECTIONS?

Residential tenants and mobilehome space renters with household incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) are protected for nonpayment of rent due to a COVID-19 financial hardship for rent owed between July 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023.

In addition to the AMI threshold, residential tenants and mobilehome space renters must have experienced a substantial loss of monthly household income of at least 10% and/or have increased unreimbursed monthly household costs of more than 7.5% in order to be protected against eviction for non-payment of rent between July 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. Tenants who fulfill the requirements under the Resolution may have an affirmative defense to an Unlawful Detainer (eviction) action.

HOW LONG DO TENANTS OR SPACE RENTERS HAVE TO REPAY PAST DUE RENT OWED?

Residential Tenants (including mobilehome space renters) will have up to twelve (12) months to repay any past due rent.

NOTE: The County’s Resolution does not cancel or stop rent from being owed or stop the accumulation of back-rent owed during the protected period. Tenants should pay their rent if they are able and are encouraged to work out a repayment plan with their landlord.

Reach out to us at 800-593-8222 or visit Stay Housed LA if you receive a written notice from your landlord to see if you qualify for free legal assistance, short-term rental assistance, and for help understanding your rights, and/or access to other resources.

CAN A LANDLORD EVICT A TENANT OR SPACE RENTER TO MOVE INTO A UNIT WHILE THE RESOLUTION IS IN PLACE?

Under the Resolution, a landlord or a qualifying family member can move into a single-family home, mobilehome space, condominium unit, duplex, or triplex (collectively “units”) if they meet the following criteria: 

  • The landlord or landlords qualifying family member must physically reside at the property for at least thirty-six (36) consecutive months; and 
  • The landlord or landlords qualifying family member must be similarly situated to the tenant currently occupying the home; and 
  • The landlord must provide at least sixty (60) days’ notice to Tenant; and 
  • The landlord must pay tenant relocation assistance as required by the County’s Rent Stabilization and Tenant Protections Ordinance or the incorporated city’s applicable ordinance or regulation. 

Landlords will need to use the following forms as part of the process to evict the tenant(s) and provide notice to the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs:

Landlords may refer to the Relocation Assistance FAQs for further guidance on the required relocation amounts.

WHAT SHOULD TENANTS DO IF THEY ARE SERVED AN EVICTION NOTICE?

It is important to seek legal assistance in responding to any eviction or “Unlawful Detainer” action filed by a Landlord. Tenants that receive an eviction notice should immediately contact Stay Housed LA to see if they qualify for free legal assistance, and for help understanding their rights, responding to notices, short-term rental assistance, and access to other resources by visiting www.stayhousedla.org or calling DCBA at 800-593-8222 for more information. Tenants are not required to leave their units unless they are served with a five (5) Day Notice to Vacate from the Sheriff’s Department.

The County protections may provide an affirmative defense if a tenant is served with an “Unlawful Detainer” (eviction) or is facing other civil actions for unpaid rent accrued during the protected period due to COVID-19 related financial impact.

WHAT IF A LANDLORD VIOLATES THE RESOLUTION?

Landlords are prohibited from harassing or intimidating tenants and space renters who exercise their rights under the Resolution and may be subject to administrative fines and penalties for violating this provision. A tenant, space renter, or a representative acting on their behalf, may sue a landlord in court for violations of the Resolution. Additionally, the County or State protections, or a combination of these may provide an affirmative defense if a tenant or space renter is served with an unlawful detainer (eviction) or is facing other civil actions for failure to pay back rent due to financial impacts from COVID-19.

A landlord may not be criminally or civilly liable for pursuing and filing an unlawful detainer action if there is a reasonable belief that (i) a tenant’s self-certification is fraudulent; or (ii) that the tenant cannot prove a substantial loss of income and/or increased household costs as an affirmative defense provided by the Resolution.

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