Supes expand emergency coronavirus protections

Los Angeles County Seal.
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After a three-week hiatus, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors held its first virtual meeting Tuesday to vote on a wide range of issues related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is a breakdown of some of those issues:

Evictions

“There are many residents who are still at risk of losing their homes, and we know we have to do everything in our power to prevent that,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis of the 1st District. “Our eviction moratorium is a good start, I believe, but to be truly effective, it needs to be strengthened to help all of our residents in the county.”

That being said, Solis suggested a number of relevant departments provide additional recommendations and resources within seven days to improve protections for tenants, workers, homeless individuals, landlords and businesses.

The Board of Supervisors approved a motion to ratify the executive order granting a temporary moratorium on evictions following the health emergency proclamation put in place by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.

In addition, they approved an amendment that prohibits rent increases during the eviction moratorium period.

Price gouging

The Board of Supervisors also approved a motion to strengthen consumer protections against price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing the county’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs subpoena powers.

“Given the enormity of the issues that we are dealing with, it seems imperative that we move swiftly to provide the DCBA with the tools needed to protect consumers,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas of the 2nd District.

Giving the DCBA this power is critical to enhancing their ability to investigate price gouging complaints and refer them to the appropriate governmental agency for potential criminal or civil action, Ridley-Thomas added.

Property taxes

In addition, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion instructing the county’s treasurer and tax collector to consider the impact of the coronavirus on property owners.

Beginning April 11, the day after property taxes are due, those unable to pay on time for reasons related to COVID-19 will now be able to submit a request for penalty cancellation.

Those who do become delinquent under “circumstances beyond a taxpayer’s control” are expected to receive reduced or canceled penalties.

Utilities

The Board of Supervisors also approved a motion to prevent disconnections of water service for unpaid bills for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

In addition, the motion will work to restore water service to those disconnected due to unpaid bills in the past 30 days, as well as develop a plan to waive the imposition of late fees and create a system to provide extended repayment plans.

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