The deadline for Los Angeles tenants to pay back rent accrued during much of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, and the city is taking measures to ensure tenants stay housed and landlords receive overdue payment.
During a recent press conference at City Hall, Mayor Karen Bass emphasized the city’s commitment to maintaining housing stability.
“I want to close by emphasizing that our goal is to keep people in their homes,” Bass said, as reported by KABC. “The city is taking unprecedented actions to keep Angelenos inside, and to make sure that landlords, especially small landlords, do not go into foreclosure.”
The city had set a deadline of Monday, Aug. 1, 2023, for tenants to pay any back rent due for the period from March 2020 to September 2021. However, tenants may also be protected under a patchwork of other state and local protections. For example, renters who failed to pay rent during that same March 2020 to September 2021 timeframe may also be protected under the state’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act.
In addition, tenants have been granted a longer timeline by the city for rent accrued between October 2021 and Jan. 31 of this year, with a repayment deadline set for February 2024. Los Angeles County’s eviction moratorium also may protect tenants who live in the city; that moratorium provides qualifying tenants with eviction protections if they failed to pay rent between July 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023.
In anticipation of the deadline, city officials have been conducting extensive campaigns to inform tenants and landlords of their rights and obligations, aiming to stave off a potential “wave of evictions.” Information on tenants’ rights and resources can be found on stayhousedla.org/tenant-rights.
Funds from Measure ULA, the city’s new property transfer tax, are being allocated toward tenant assistance programs, including an $18.4 million emergency fund dedicated to low-income tenants. Additional measures include $60 million for legal support, tenant outreach and education, and tenant-harassment protection programs.
Also contributing to these efforts is the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles. Through the “We Are LA” program, outreach teams have connected with nearly 41,000 Angelenos and arranged case management appointments with more than 10,000 people, in an effort to assist at-risk individuals in maintaining their housing.
Meanwhile, the city is investing in a public information campaign, utilizing diverse media channels such as social media, foreign language radio stations, and even taco trucks, as part of its mission to reach tenants in lower-income areas who owe back rent.
According to a report by The Real Deal, as of early May, an estimated 137,000 households in L.A. alone owed a total of around $451 million in rent. This significant figure underscores the scale of the problem and the urgency of repayment.
The mayor reiterated the importance of providing support for landlords during this period. “We would be totally defeating our goal here if we just paid attention to the tenants and then the landlords fell behind in their mortgages,” she said.