Los Angeles officials have extended COVID-era eviction moratoriums in the city and county until the end of January, continuing some of the nation’s longest-lasting policies that allow low-income residents to delay paying rent.
Following the city’s lead, the county Board of Supervisors approved the extension on Dec. 20. The board is also considering another six-month extension next year, citing fears of an “eviction tsunami” and increased homelessness.
Extending the moratorium until the end of June would be “the right thing to do,” County Supervisor Hilda Solis said following the Dec. 20 board meeting.
One apartment owners’ group that sued over eviction restrictions last year expressed disappointment with the extensions.
“After nearly three years of challenging rent collections and prohibitions on rent increases during an unprecedented inflationary period in our history, it is deplorable that Los Angeles County would seek to twist the knife blade even more into the hearts and souls of rental housing providers,” Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, told The Epoch Times in an email.
He said some renters have taken advantage of the moratoriums and restrictions by not paying rent and using the money to travel, buy new cars, and dine out, while landlords “have suffered greatly under the financial strain.”
In the ruling, the judge agreed with the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and the Apartment Owners Association of California, which claimed in a lawsuit that the moratorium was “unconstitutionally vague.”
The policy was changed but the landlord groups don’t agree that the changes adequately or legally corrected the ordinance, according to Yukelson, and they plan to go back to court.
“Our ruling will open the door for property owners harmed by the County’s unconstitutional ordinance to recover damages from the County under what could likely be class action litigation,” he added.
The moratorium doesn’t cancel the rental payment. Residents are still expected to repay the total amount owed. Landlords can pursue court action for unpaid rent, but many claim the moratorium has allowed some residents to stop paying rent for nearly three years.
Los Angeles City Council voted on Dec. 7 to end its eviction ban on Jan. 31, 2023. Landlords can resume evicting tenants for not paying rent and other reasons starting Feb. 1.
The city’s moratorium also prohibited—until February 2024—property owners from raising rents on the more than 650,000 rent-controlled units in the city.