A week before they were set to expire, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today extended by two months its tenant protections against eviction for those affected by COVID-19, while also approving the establishment of a “relief fund” for $45 million for small owners. that they have not been able to collect rent from some tenants.
Supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Hilda Solis originally asked their colleagues to extend the tenant protections through June. That extension met with opposition on the board, especially from board chair Janice Hahn, who said she would not support such a long extension.
Hahn indicated that he would support a shorter time frame, leading to the March 31 commitment.
Horvath said the extension was essential to help tenants who continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the magnitude of people still getting sick, still out of work and still dying from this emergency, it is essential that we keep people cared for in stable housing,” he said in a statement after the vote. “Continued and expanded protections are critical for both tenants and landlords, and the cost and consequences of doing nothing will be dire. We simply cannot afford to abandon our most vulnerable residents facing these compounded crises.”
The extension was met with anger by landlords who addressed the board, many criticizing members for refusing to end tenant protections that landlords say have led some renters to simply stop paying. rent, in some cases for years, without financial assistance being provided to landlords. .
That concern led Supervisor Kathryn Barger to file an amendment motion to establish a $45 million smallholder relief fund.
“In some cases, extending tenant protections has had a negative impact on landlords and we cannot continue to extend emergency protections for dependent tenants,” Barger said in a statement. “I heard loud and clear from my constituents that they are property owners fighting for
make your own utility, mortgage, and homeowners insurance payments. They are not exempt from meeting their financial responsibilities, so it is time that we also offer help to smallholders. We can’t turn our backs on them.”
The board had previously directed the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs to design an assistance program for small homeowners, and the agency initially recommended a $5 million program. The motion by Barger and Supervisor Holly Mitchell expands that program to $45 million, providing
assistance of up to $30,000 per rental unit.
Under the measure, landlords who receive relief funds must agree not to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent.
Solís said she was disappointed the board did not support an extension through June, but said even short-term relief is welcome.
“We all recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic drastically disrupted our families and our economy while disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable. To that end, we must lead with compassion to prevent people from becoming homeless,” he said.