Landlords who expressed concern over Los Angeles County’s extended eviction moratorium may soon find relief as Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León said on Aug. 6 that he will introduce a motion to shorten the timeline for landlords to receive back rent for tenants who could not pay their rent due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“This is absolutely unacceptable to Angelenos every day facing the threat of eviction,” De León said. “We can’t afford to take this business-as-usual approach to one of the biggest crises that our city has ever met.”
The motion calls for the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCID) to pay all landlords’ outstanding applications by Oct. 1. The city’s program received more than 113,000 applications, according to de León, and the city has approximately $235 million to distribute; so far, it has only paid out $35 million.
“The problem we face is not a problem of funding,” de León said. “Rather, our problem is a lack of urgency and creativity and commitment to rise to the challenge of this unprecedented crisis.”
Though Los Angeles County’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on Sept. 30, the city of LA’s moratorium will continue as long as the city is in a state of local emergency.
Landlord Carrie Cunningham-Holmes said it’s been nearly six weeks since she filed her paperwork for tenants’ unpaid back rent, and about a year and a half since she’s received rent from several of her tenants due to the eviction moratorium.
“I don’t think they realize the [bind] they are putting us in,” Cunningham-Holmes told The Epoch Times. “You know, you can’t go a year and a half and not do [maintenance] things around your building.”
The water bill in one of her buildings has more than doubled in cost, she said, due to people working from home because of the pandemic. “My bill has gone up since people have been home and moving in extra people that we cannot evict. These extra tenants are creating excessive expenses, excessive water uses,” Cunningham-Holmes said.
Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas’s office declined to comment.
HCID would submit weekly progress reports to the city council on the application payments’ status and reopen the application period and waitlist. It would also develop a multi-lingual outreach campaign for those who didn’t submit applications due to language barriers.
The rental assistance was available for LA residents who have been unemployed for 90 days or more. Applicants must have a combined household income of 50 percent of the area median income, or $39,450, or below; priority will be given to renters at below 30 percent of the area median income.
This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a temporary federal moratorium on evictions Aug. 3. Several chapters of the National Association of Realtors filed a lawsuit to stop the eviction ban on Aug. 4.
Councilman de León didn’t respond to a request for comment by press deadline.