Los Angeles City Council Passes Law Extending Eviction Protections Amid Rental Assistance Delays
In a bid to support tenants who are waiting for financial assistance through Los Angeles' rental assistance program, the Los Angeles City Council has approved a new law that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants during this period.
The move comes as many tenants face the daunting task of paying back overdue rent accumulated during the pandemic, specifically from Oct. 21, 2021, to Jan. 31, 2023.
Details of the Law
The 13-0 vote by council members ensures that landlords cannot evict tenants for 120 days starting from Feb. 1, which marks the deadline for overdue rent repayment.
However, the law only applies to pending rental assistance applications within the stated timeframe, and protections solely cover evictions related to rental debt.
Applicants facing just cause evictions while their applications are pending may still be at risk of eviction.
Next Steps and Considerations
Before the law can be enacted, it will require approval from Mayor Karen Bass.
The motion to draft the ordinance was presented by council members Eunisses Hernandez, Paul Krekorian, Nithya Raman, and Hugo Soto-Martinez, who also instructed the Housing Department to report back on mechanisms necessary to prevent landlords who have received city rental assistance funds from evicting tenants who owe less than fair market rent.
Importance of the Law
With over 31,000 applications submitted for financial assistance from Measure ULA's Emergency Renters Assistance Program, it is crucial to ensure that tenants remain housed while the city processes these applications.
The city has allocated $31 million from Measure ULA funding for the program this time around.
However, as of late January, only $7.9 million has been disbursed, highlighting the urgency to efficiently distribute funds and provide a lifeline to thousands of tenants in need.
Addressing Vulnerable Communities
The Housing Department's data indicates that 84% of the applications come from renters within or under the 30% Area Median Income (AMI) threshold, emphasizing the critical need for resources among these tenants.
Additionally, 37% of applicants identify as Black Angelenos, though African Americans make up only 9% of the city's population.
Protecting the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals from homelessness is an essential priority for the council.
As Los Angeles continues to grapple with the economic fallout from the pandemic, extending eviction protections for tenants awaiting rental assistance is a crucial step towards preventing homelessness and providing financial relief.
The law, once enacted, will provide some much-needed security for tenants while the city works to process a significant backlog of applications and distribute funds promptly.