“The past is a foreign country,” author L.P. Hartley famously wrote in his book The Go-Between. Perhaps that’s why we hold on to the postcards…
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to extend the Los Angeles County Temporary Eviction Moratorium through September 30, 2021. The moratorium, which was first put into effect March 2020, places a Countywide ban on evictions for residential tenants, commercial tenants, and mobile home space renters.
The updated moratorium extends protection to commercial evictions; prohibits no-fault evictions, evictions for unauthorized occupants, pets, nuisances, or for tenants who reasonably deny entry to a landlord, if related to COVID-19. In a related motion co-authored by Supervisors Holly J. Mitchell and Hilda L. Solis, commercial rent protections were also expanded.
In addition to extending the moratorium, the motion begins to phase out the ban on evictions. As a first step, the motion created a limited carve-out for owner move-ins of single-family homes that were purchased on or before June 30, 2021.
The motion clarifies that, effective March 4, 2020, tenants have an affirmative defense in unlawful detainer actions and any other civil action for the collection of unpaid rent, if tenant was unable to pay rent during the timeframe from March 4, 2020 through the end of the Moratorium period, due to financial impacts from COVID-19.
Additionally, the motion also instructs County Counsel, in collaboration with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) and the Courts, to report back in 30 days on the feasibility and impact of requiring property owners to apply for rental assistance before taking legal action or an action to recover rental debt against a tenant who has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
“By adopting deliberate, proactive strategies, we have minimized evictions during this once-in-a-century pandemic,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who authored the motion. “Our responsibility now is to phase out this moratorium in a way that ensures we don’t sacrifice our hard-won success keeping families in their homes, while thoughtfully easing rules on property owners and returning to normal.”