Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 Moratoriums: Eleventh-Hour Changes Approved
At the September 13th Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board stated their commitment to ending the Countywide eviction moratorium on December 31, 2022 and commenced a robust strategic plan for Countywide education and outreach to ensure that renters and rental housing providers are properly informed and prepared for the end of the moratoriums. Yet, at the eleventh hour, during the November 15th Board meeting, an amendment was approved, with Board Supervisor Barger opposing, that extends the County’s no-fault eviction prohibitions for a segment of County renters applicable countywide until 2024.
Since September 1, 2020, the County has contended that its eviction moratorium is the baseline countywide and applies to both the County’s incorporated cities and unincorporated areas. It is important to note that the County’s rent increase freeze has always only applied to rent-stabilized units in the County’s unincorporated areas.
The approved change extends the prohibition on "no-fault" evictions countywide through December 31, 2023, for residential renters whose household income is at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI) who were unable to pay rent from July 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022, due to financial impacts related to COVID-19 as defined in the resolution, and provided the required notice. These residential renters have up to 12 months from December 31, 2022, which is the end of the County’s eviction moratorium, to repay the deferred rent owed. Renters within the above-described category, cannot be evicted for no-fault reasons, with very limited exceptions for owner move-in for particular properties, for the duration of the 12-month repayment period.
The County’s eviction moratorium also included clarifying amendments intended to address an October 19, 2022 Court order and related preliminary injunction in ongoing litigation against the County to which our Association is a party.
The Board’s motion, states “While the County's attorneys dispute that the Resolution adopted on January 25, 2022, was vague or in any way unconstitutional, in an effort to preserve tenant protections through the end of 2022, and to avoid undue confusion to tenants and landlords, the Board can provide clarifying language to cure the perceived deficiencies highlighted in the Order.”
Generally, the preliminary injunction enjoins the County from further enforcement of its moratorium effective December 1, 2022 due to multiple violations of the Constitution’s “Vagueness Doctrine” and lack of specific standards for how to apply various provisions contained within the County’s moratorium. Along with the granting of the injunction, the District Court judge’s order concluded that our Association and co-plaintiff are likely to succeed on the merits of our claim that the County’s ordinance is unconstitutionally vague.
In the Association’s strongly worded letter to the Board of Supervisors, we stated that we do not believe the County has corrected the fundamental vagueness problems called out in Judge Pregerson’s order and it would appear that the proposed amendment would allow virtually any renter to take advantage of the eviction ban. The ban does not establish any baselines for when the “loss of income” or “increase in expenses” are to be evaluated. Given the inflationary times in which we find ourselves, a mere increase of greater than 7.5% in expenses would qualify the renter for protection. In addition, the County failed to provide any factual or legal support for its determination that a decrease in income (however that is to be calculated) can justify a deference of 100% of rent. There is simply no rational basis to support such a flawed policy. We also stated the Association’s intention to continue to pursue any and all legal options against the County and urged the County to end the moratorium.
To review the Association’s letter to the Board, please click on the button below:
We encourage members with properties in Los Angeles County to review the revised Resolution-Moratorium and to consult with an attorney regarding specific tenancy questions.
To review the full details of the moratorium, please click on the button below:
This article is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions regarding your property or specific tenancies and the requirements of any local law changes described herein, please consult with an attorney