County issues eviction moratorium, applies to unincorporated areas only

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With many unable to work due to the statewide order to temporarily shut down many workplaces, employers and employees alike are dealing with questions about their rent. 

Los Angeles County officials took action Thursday to sign an eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent by residential and commercial tenants impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus, county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district oversees the Santa Clarita Valley, announced Friday. 

The order will continue through May 31, according to the text of the proclamation. 

“Fortunately in Santa Clarita, we have not seen any effort or any example of landowners and landlords trying to take advantage of this or evicting their tenants,” Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth said Friday, acknowledging the governor issued a similar order.

The state has not established a statewide moratorium on evictions but, on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom did grant local governments the authority to suspend evictions for homeowners and renters. 

“The Board of Supervisors is committed to protecting our constituents as this emergency continues,” Supervisor Barger said in a statement. “I am committed to ensure residents do not fall into homelessness from an inability to work and pay rent as a result of public health guidelines that limit business and retail activity.”

The moratorium only applies to unincorporated areas of the county, meaning it would only affect areas outside of the city of Santa Clarita boundaries, such as Stevenson Ranch and Castaic. 

Santa Clarita has not yet indicated whether it would issue any similar orders. 

“The city is currently reviewing the various ordinances and their applicability and need in Santa Clarita,” said City Communications Manager Carrie Lujan on Friday. 

The county’s order also directs the creation of a strike team comprised of multiple county departments, aimed at helping small businesses affected by the global health outbreak. Those interested will be able to apply for various forms of relief provided at the local, state and federal levels, including the $2 billion U.S. Small Business Administration economic injury disaster loan program, according to a news release from Barger’s office.

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