County Bans Evictions Through March While City Council Passes Tenant-Friendly Rules

By Jack Witthaus
CoStar News

This article appeared today in CoStar News. If you are a landlord in Los Angeles, you are not looked on favorably, even though you pay a lot of property tax on your holdings. You are vastly outnumbered by renters, and numbers are what counts for politicians who will favor renters over property owners. This eviction moratorium devastates landlords who have tenants not paying rent because they can’t be evicted. Most rental properties in Los Angeles have small mom-and-pop owners who can’t continue to have non-paying tenants. Does LA County or City care? Nope. Renters have more votes, and that is who they will favor. GA

Apartment tenants may see more protections in Los Angeles city and county after rule changes in recent weeks.

Los Angeles County’s board of supervisors has extended a moratorium on apartment evictions through the end of March after the ban was set to expire in January, according to the county’s website. The ban applies to renters in unincorporated Los Angeles County and to cities in the county that don’t have a moratorium in place.

The Los Angeles area is the last major U.S. market to have an apartment moratorium in place after these types of bans were enacted under emergency measures to protect jobless renters when the pandemic struck in March 2020.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles City Council has passed or is mulling new protections for apartment renters. Some of the new rules include prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants without “just cause” and requiring landlords to pay relocation fees if rents are raised above a certain threshold. Another rule prohibits landlords from evicting tenants that fall behind on rent as long as it’s no more than one month of fair market rent.

Landlords oppose several of the changes. The California Apartment Association, an industry group based in Sacramento, said in a letter to the city of Los Angeles that it opposed landlords being required to pay relocation fees if rent is increased above a certain threshold. The organization also opposes a measure barring a landlord from serving a notice to pay rent or quit the apartment until a tenant owes an amount that exceeds one month of fair market rent for an equivalently sized unit. The association said in the letter it may sue the city, and said that the group has filed lawsuits in the city of Pasadena and San Francisco over the same or similar policies.

“In addition to being bad policy, these proposals are also preempted by state law,” according to the letter.

The changes come as the Biden administration aims to pass a national bill of rights for renters. The bill may create rights concerning evictions, tenant organization and lease clarity.

The greater Los Angeles area has the 19th-highest average multifamily market rent in the U.S. of $2,193 per month, according to CoStar data. The average asking rent for an apartment unit nationwide is $1,631. Eleven of the top 20 markets in the U.S. in terms of apartment rent are located in California.

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