Supes to consider extending eviction moratorium through end of February

Los Angeles County Seal.

Eviction protections for residential renters across Los Angeles County are set to expire at the end of January, but they could extend for at least an additional month should the county Board of Supervisors approve the move Tuesday. 

County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis issued a substitute motion looking to update the countywide ban on evictions from the deadline of Jan. 31 through Feb. 28 for renters who have been unable to pay due to financial challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As the winter months and colder temperatures are now upon us, it is critically important to continue protections that can keep residents in their homes and off the streets,” reads the motion, in part. “The county should take necessary precautions to ensure individuals can practice social distancing, curfew and lockdown protocols.” 

Should the moratorium continue through February, protections against evictions based on non-payment of rent and failure to repay by the end of a repayment period will become effective Feb. 1, according to the motion. 

The proposed update comes as California lawmakers consider extending the statewide ban on evictions through the end of December 2021 via Assembly Bill 16. The state’s eviction moratorium shields renters for COVID-19-related nonpayment of rent through Jan. 31 as long as 25% of their rent is paid. Passage of the bill could also offer financial support to landlords. AB 16 could be heard in a state committee as early as Thursday, according to the California legislative website. 

Meanwhile, the county and a number of Southern California cities, including Santa Clarita, and the state are facing a lawsuit raised by a group of landlords seeking to overturn eviction moratoriums and collect reimbursement for unpaid rent due to the COVID-19 eviction-protection ordinances that have been extended since March 2020. 

The complaint was filed in September in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and the case is set to continue well into the new year after Judge Stephanie Bowick granted on Dec. 18 an extension for the local and state governments to respond to the complaint. 

The Board of Supervisors is also expected to consider extending its rent relief program, which assists income-eligible households who have filed applications for rental assistance, through Dec. 31, 2021, following the passage of the latest federal COVID-19 relief bill on Dec. 27, which assigned $25 billion in emergency rental assistance. The amount of federal aid L.A. County could receive remains unknown but Gov. Gavin Newsom estimated that California could receive about $2 billion. 

The county’s rent-relief program, should it receive the green light to continue, would include supports like providing eligible households with a 50% average median income up to $10,000 in rental assistance instead of the $7,500 previously offered, making direct payments to households to pay their rent in cases where landlords refuse to participate in the program and allowing payments for tenants who have had to use credit cards or loans to pay their rent. 

The Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled Tuesday starting at 9:30 a.m. 

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