The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to recommend staff to establish a countywide communications strategy informing residents about the possible end of the county’s eviction moratorium in December, and to increase gun regulations in the county.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, 5th District, motioned for staff to establish a countywide strategy to communicate the formal phase-out of the county’s emergency tenant protections for both landlords and tenants.
According to the motion, the county’s emergency tenant protections are set to expire Dec. 31, unless a county supervisor introduces a motion to extend some or all those protections before then.
“As you know the county’s eviction moratorium has now been in place for almost two and half years, and is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2022,” Barger said. “But we have not yet passed the pandemic.”
“We are currently working to live with it while understanding that proper precautions can allow us to resume some sort of normalcy for our economy, our schools and our daily lives.”
According to the motion, the board would direct county staff to work across various departments to prepare and implement an immediate strategy. Barger described the strategy to include, but not be limited to, sharing regular updates through the property owner and tenant roundtable meetings, and inform the public of existing tenants’ rights and responsibilities for property owners.
County staff would also inform residents of available financial assistance programs to help those most impacted by COVID-19.
“We must be proactive and perform robust outreach and communication to those that are going to be impacted,” Barger said.
Barger reiterated this motion is not initiating the end of the county’s eviction moratorium. Her motion is to inform and prepare tenants and landlords about the expiration of protections, which was already set by the Board of Supervisors in January.
Although Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis said they understood the reasoning behind the motion, they could not support it.
“I think that it is extremely dangerous,” Kuehl said. “I think that your point about informing all of our tenants that all of their protections go away Dec. 31 may or may not be true. I feel as though this can lead to an enormous amount of fear, confusion and anxiety.”
Kuehl indicated she would consider bringing a motion to the board sometime in the future looking to extend the county’s eviction moratorium.
Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in support of Barger’s motion. Supervisor Holly Mitchell said the discussion felt a little “apples and oranges.”
“Some said they felt this motion about informing people of the end of the eviction moratorium is too soon,” Mitchell said. “Some could argue that when we took action in January, that motion should have included a plan of communication.”
“That was nine months ago. So people now, if no other actions are taken, have three months to prepare. I don’t know how responsible that was on our part, quite frankly. If there are motions afoot to extend the emergency protections, great, but we have only three months to go.”
The Board of Supervisors also voted unanimously to instruct county staff to draft ordinances banning the sale of .50-caliber handguns and ammunition in unincorporated areas of the county, adding zoning regulations with a buffer zone between gun or ammunition dealers and sensitive areas such as schools, day cares and parks, and prohibiting the possession or carrying of firearms on all county property.
In addition, the motion asked county staff to amend County Code, which would place more safety requirements on gun and ammunition businesses.
County staff are to report back to the board within 90 days with an update on this item.
“It’s worth reiterating all of these ordinances will only apply to unincorporated areas in L.A. County,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who co-authored the motion with Solis. “We need to do whatever we can in our jurisdictions to keep our communities safe from gun violence.”