L.A. extends COVID-19 rent freeze
Despite immense opposition from CAA, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted to prolong its COVID-19 related rent freeze by more than a year, and likely much longer.
Under the council’s decision, the rent freeze, which applies to locally rent controlled housing, will remain in place for one year following the expiration of the local COVID-19 emergency.
The emergency, though, lacks a definite end date.
The council also updated its eviction moratorium to give tenants a private right of action against a landlord, a move expected to create a cottage industry of lawsuits against property owners. The private right of action allows tenants to bring a lawsuit against their landlords for violating the moratorium. Previously, a tenant who claimed their landlord wasn’t following the ordinance had to wait until legal action was taken by the landlord to enforce the eviction before they could raise the alleged violation.
The California Apartment Association succeeded, however, in securing a right for landlords to cure any alleged violation. The right to cure means tenants must notify their landlord and give an opportunity to correct the alleged violation before taking the matter to court.
CAA also defeated a proposal to treat rent as consumer debt – a move that would have removed eviction as an avenue for collecting the unpaid rent – although a similar proposal is still being considered by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Moreover, CAA defeated efforts to expand moratoriums in Burbank, Pasadena, Alhambra and El Monte.
As for the negative proposals that advanced, Fred Sutton, CAA’s senior vice president of public affairs in Los Angeles, urged members not to grow discouraged.
“We greatly appreciate the companies that distributed the action alerts and proactively lobbied City council on the above issues. Although these items passed, immense grassroots push-back took place,” Sutton said. “CAA is continuing to grow our grassroots efforts to fight these items as they unfold. It is crucial we get more bodies and involvement. Please let us know if you are not receiving CAA action alerts. If you have any questions, concerns or interest in the political nuances, do not hesitate to contact us.”