On Monday, Los Angeles’ largest landlord group, the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA), announced that it had filed a preliminary injunction against the city of Los Angeles to stop the eviction moratorium and rent freeze in the city.
AAGLA files against the city of Los Angeles
The AAGLA argues that the moratorium gives renters benefits such as a place to stay without paying rent, cheaper rent below market price, and other measures that allow renters to stay due to city measures passed in March to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to reduce the number of homeless people during the pandemic.
“The City’s eviction ban goes way overboard in providing benefits to renters at the expense of all landlords, particularly the small “mom and pop” landlords making up the majority of housing providers within the City,” explained AAGLA Board President Earle Vaughan after the filing on Monday. “Many of the renters that have benefited under these ordinances have not been impacted during the pandemic and yet still choose not to pay rent. As a result, the City has exposed itself to significant liability risk for damages associated with the eviction ban, and in particular, damages stemming from the lack of an ‘end date’ on the eviction ban and prohibition on rent increases, which now seven months following their establishment is still a date unknown.”
The AAGLA joins a landlord group who last week sued not only the city, but other Southern Californian cities, LA County, and the state as well. Currently, the city and county of Los Angeles both have eviction moratoriums, as does the state of California until the end of January. While both the city and county of Los Angeles gave a limited amount of special assistance grants to tenants to help pay the rent during the summer, little direct help went to landlords. As a result, many landlords, especially smaller ones with only one or two rental properties, have been facing financial uncertainty for months.
“Every month, it’s a race to the end to see if we can pay everything off,” Los Angeles and Arcadia apartment owner Helen Moon told the Globe. “I’m glad there are more lawsuits to stop this, but we need the help now. I have several tenants not paying legally because they were affected financially by the COVID, and it has just added up each month.”
“There’s a lot of costs that renters don’t fully see, so it’s way more than just utilities and associated building costs like taxes and a mortgage. These cities don’t understand the pain we’re going through, and instead, we need to house people who aren’t trying to find work. It’s incredible, and not in a good way.”
“I don’t know how much longer I can go on this way.”
AAGLA says cities actions are unconstitutional, LA vows to fight injunction
The attorney for the AAGLA, Douglas J. Dennington, is arguing that the city’s eviction moratorium and rent freeze are unconstitutional and goes against the rights of landlords and apartment owners.
“The City’s unconstitutional and overreaching abuse of power has forced landlords to absorb the economic losses suffered by their tenants because of the novel coronavirus pandemic,” stated Dennington on Monday. “We are requesting that the Court invalidate the City’s Eviction Moratorium and related measures which prohibit landlords from evicting tenants who would otherwise be subject to eviction for defaulting on the payment of their rent or another significant violation under their rental agreement.”
This will be the second time the AAGLA has filed against the city over the eviction ban, having previously filed in June. The city of Los Angeles has said little on the lawsuit besides a short statement through the city attorney’s office saying that they will “vigorously fight” the injunction.
The current injunction is expected to be heard in federal court soon.
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