Home>Articles>LA City Council Committee Recommends End to Eviction Moratorium For January 2023

Los Angeles City Hall. (Photo: City of Los Angeles)

LA City Council Committee Recommends End to Eviction Moratorium For January 2023

‘For many of us this is income and they literally stopped us from making a living – this should have never happened to us’

By Evan Symon, September 29, 2022 4:38 pm

The Los Angeles City Council Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment voted 4-0 on Wednesday on a recommendation to end all remaining eviction moratoriums in the city no later than January 31, 2023.

Since 2020, landlords have fought hard against the city eviction moratorium, saying that it put an undue burden on them and that they have been financially struggling to pay mortgages and other expenses due to no money coming in from renters who can’t be removed. Housing groups, aided by statistics showing that homelessness in LA would significantly jump up as a result, including state statistics showing that 101,000 households had rent relief funding during the pandemic in LA alone, prevailed in fighting off attempts in ending the moratorium during the last few years, including in court.

The City Council kept extending the moratorium every several months, including as recently as July. However, severely declining COVID-19 rates in LA, as well as President Joe Biden declaring the pandemic over last week, brought forth a new effort to finally pin down an end date for the eviction moratorium. At the same time, previous housing committee meetings that had the issue fought over tooth and nail finally started reaching understandings on a sunset date.

Last month, the City of Los Angeles Housing Department released a report recommending an end date of December 31, 2022. However, Councilmembers on the Committee fought to continue the moratorium another month, noting that renters would need time to recover following holiday expenses.

“We all know that December is a month with holidays and extra expenses,” said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. “Impacted renters should be given a little extra time to get back on their feet.”

Now with a firm end date, this led to the City Council Committee to vote on the recommendation on Wednesday. During the discussions, many Councilmembers began changing their minds on sole tenant protections, acknowledging that many smaller landlords were being negatively affected as well.

The end of the moratorium within sight

“We consider our moratorium to be one of the strongest tenant protections in the country, and we’ve kept these protections in place for longer than almost any other municipality in the state,” said City Council President Nury Martinez. “We must put in place long-term protections for our tenants while still preserving the economic well-being of our small mom-and-pop landlords.”

Despite some concerns still lingering for tenants, the Committee agreed on the January 31, 2023 end date. In addition to the end date, the Committee also agreed on giving tenants until August 1, 2023 to pay back all missed rent between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. Tenants would then have until February 1, 2024 to pay back all rent missed from October 2021 to January 2023. Rent could also be increased on rent-control buildings beginning in February 2024.

“There is enough on both sides here for people to be unhappy with,” noted City Councilman Gil Cedillo. “This is probably the best deal that we could put together. The challenge that confronts the council is ‘how do we walk away from this pandemic?’ It’s unknowing. It will be difficult. It will not be precise or exact. But we have to be as nuanced as we can be, as thoughtful as we can be. It’s broad brushed, but we have to pay attention to the corners, the details, because not one size fits all.”

Many landlords said that they hope that this will be finalized soon and that the end should have come much sooner.

“We should not have had to have suffered at all,” said Henry Peng, an LA landlord to the Globe on Thursday. “We’re all happy there is now a date in which we can finally kick people out, but we’ve lost so much through this. For many of us this is income and they literally stopped us from making a living. This should have never happened to us.”

The LA City Council is to decide on the new recommendation soon.

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