The state’s eviction moratorium may have expired, but that news provides little comfort to rental property owners in the city of Los Angeles and Alameda County who are still subject to the most stringent eviction restrictions.
City of Los Angeles
In the city of Los Angeles, the local moratorium allows renters with a COVID-19 related hardship to defer their rent payments for the duration of the local emergency, which is in effect indefinitely. Renters will have 12 months after the local emergency period ends to repay the back rent before they can face eviction.
State law partially preempts the local law by mandating that the repayment period for rent deferred between March 2020 and September 2021 commence on May 1, 2022, and end by May 31, 2023, but there’s a catch: Renters aren’t required to make installments during the repayment period and can instead wait until the end of the period to repay the back rent.
State law preemption also doesn’t extend to the local moratorium’s provisions that apply to rent due from Oct. 1, 2021, until the end of the local emergency, meaning renters can still defer payment on these amounts until 12 months after the local emergency ends.
CAA filed an amicus brief in a case challenging the city’s moratorium as unconstitutional, but to date the courts have declined to overturn the moratorium.
Alameda County’s moratorium – which applies in both unincorporated areas and within cities in the county – currently bans all evictions except those necessary to either address an imminent threat to health or safety, comply with a government order, or remove rental units from the market under the Ellis Act.
The ban has been in place since June 2020 and is slated to stay in effect until 60 days after the local health emergency is terminated – an occurrence that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.
Unlike the city of Los Angeles’ ordinance, Alameda County renters are not required to have a COVID-19-related hardship to qualify for protection.
Though the Alameda County purports to require renters to repay deferred rent within 12 months from the date the rent became due, the landlord has little recourse if the renter fails to do so as the ordinance bans evictions based on non-payment of rent that came due while the moratorium was in effect – even after the local emergency ends.
CAA has sent the Board of Supervisors this letter demanding that it end the moratorium.
“Since the Alameda County eviction moratorium was adopted, we have learned much about the virus. Science has brought us vaccines. California has re-opened. The County’s Health Officer rescinded the local shelter-in-place order. State and federal governments provided much needed financial relief to renters and business owners. California adopted comprehensive, statewide protections for renters.” Joshua Howard, CAA executive vice president of local public affairs, says in the letter. “Considering these significantly improved conditions, CAA respectfully requests the Alameda County Board of Supervisors immediately lift its eviction moratorium.”