What LA residents need to know about the eviction moratorium, tenant rights

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Jesse Seo

A 1-bedroom and 2-bath home for rent in South L.A. was advertised for $1,520 per month in 2018.

Russell Navarrette, Community News Reporter

Los Angeles county’s COVID-19 tenant protection program expired last year but the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the program earlier this year until at least Dec. 2022.

Landlords can be eligible to receive 100% of unpaid rent and utilities, according to Housing Is Key, a government program that offers aid to the people of California.

The COVID rent relief program will cover costs dating back as far as April 1, 2020.

In a UCLA survey, 1,000 renters were asked in March 2021 about their ability to pay rent from January through March. About 7% of these tenants reported they were not able to pay their rent at all during that period last year. Tenants who paid at least one month but still owed rent almost doubled from 17% in 2020 to 31% in 2021.

Stay Housed L.A., a partnership between the county and city of Los Angeles and legal service providers has workshops to help tenants understand the laws that protect renter’s rights. On its website, it states that landlords may not impose rent increases or “pass-throughs,” or fees imposed on renters for improvements and other costs.

These protections also prohibit landlords from harassing, intimidating, or retaliating against their tenants.

Those who are struggling to pay rent are encouraged to apply 15 days within an eviction notice. Landlords are asked to apply as well, within 15 days of an eviction notice, so that the process runs smoothly.

Tenants that prolong applying for the protection program run the risk of allowing the courts to proceed with an eviction.

Members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors could not be reached to comment.

Berglas & Garfield and Daley & Garfield — privately held real estate companies that own, manager and redevelop property —  directed Community News to a part of the ordinance that says the county is working on a “developing a thoughtful three-phase plan for extending and lifting residential protections beginning February 1, 2022, and continuing through June 30, 2023.”

Robert Garfield wrote in an email that “even with our losses” he wants tenants to be well-informed. “We have about 10% of our tenants not paying rent. We have one 27-unit building where 33% of the tenants can’t pay rent. Some people owe us over $65,000,” he wrote.

Updated March 28 to include comments from a property owner and manager.

Community News produces stories about under-covered neighborhoods and small cities on the Eastside and South Los Angeles. Please email feedback, corrections and story tips to [email protected]