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In both the City and County of Los Angeles there is now a temporary moratorium on Residential Tenant Evictions and a moratorium on some Rent Increases. This article explains the new procedures and rules for evictions in the City of Los Angeles and the unincorporated areas in the County of Los Angeles. This article also sets forth the new Covid 19 tenant protections for Residential and Commercial tenants in the City of Los Angeles and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
Rent Increases Prohibited on Residential Properties Subject to the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
On March 30, 2020, Mayor Garcetti instituted a rent freeze on all rental units in the City of Los Angeles subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. “Property owners shall not increase rents on occupied rental units subject to the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance beginning on the date of this Order through sixty days after the expiration of the local emergency period.” See, the order here.
Moratorium on Residential No Fault Evictions in the City of Los Angeles.
On March 24, 2020 Mayor Garcetti ordered a moratorium on ALL no fault evictions if any member of the household is ill, in isolation, or under quarantine.
"1. Residential tenants in the City of Los Angeles may not be evicted during the declared local emergency in the City of Los Angeles if the eviction is a “no-fault eviction” and any member of the household is ill, in isolation, or under quarantine. Under this Order, a “no-fault eviction” means any eviction for which the notice to terminate tenancy is not based on an alleged fault of the tenant, including without limitation, eviction notices served under California Code of Civil Procedure sections 1161(1), 1161(5), or 1161c.
2. No party in the City of Los Angeles may remove occupied residential units from the rental market under the Ellis Act while this Order is in effect. Tenancies may not be terminated under the Ellis Act until 60 days after the expiration of this Order."
Moratorium on Residential Evictions for Non Payment of Rent in the City of Los Angeles.
Although Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a limited statewide ban on evictions until May 31, 2020, Mayor Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council have added protections for residential tenants in the City of Los Angeles. The new laws which have put a moratorium on certain evictions do NOT eliminate a tenant’s obligation to pay any unpaid rent. After the expiration of the local emergency, renters in the City of Los Angeles will be obligated to repay any deferred unpaid rent within 12 months (if in the City of Los Angeles), 6 months (if in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles), and 3 months if they are a commercial tenant. Only Tenants who can prove Covid 19 has directly impacted their employment, or substantially impacted their income, are entitled to a deferment on their rent. Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pasadena, and Glendale have similarly enacted their own tenant protections and regulations.
On March 15, 2020, Mayor Garcetti ordered a moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment of rent in the City of Los Angeles.
"Finally, I hereby order that no landlord shall evict a residential tenant in the City of Los Angeles during this local emergency period if the tenant is able to show an inability to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These circumstances include loss of income due to a COVID-19 related workplace closure, child care expenditures due to school closures, health care expenses related to being ill with COVID-19 or caring for a member of the tenant’s household who is ill with COVID-19, or reasonable expenditures that stem from government-ordered emergency measures. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to mean that the tenant will not still be obligated to pay lawfully charged rent. Tenants will have up to six months following the expiration of the local emergency period to repay any back due rent. Tenants may use the protections afforded in this subsection as an affirmative defense in an unlawful detainer action. This subsection shall remain in effect during the pendency of the local emergency period."
On March 27, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide executive order Banning ALL Evictions due to Nonpayment of Rent in the State of California until May 31, 2020. Pursuant to the California Governor's Order, California Landlords can still serve a 3 Day Notice to Cure or Quit and 30-60 Day Notice to terminate a tenancy (subject of course to local restrictions which may have been imposed), but tenants in the state of California will have 65 days to respond (file an Answer) to an unlawful detainer summons and complaint. Additionally, the inability to pay rent due to Covid 19 will be an Affirmative Defense to any unlawful detainer (Eviction) action. While Governor Newsom’s Order DOES NOT STOP EVICTIONS, and is only in effect through May 31, 2020, the California Courts will not allow the filing of an Eviction Summons or Complaint until the moratorium is lifted unless a California Court finds (in its sole discretion) that the proposed eviction is necessary to protect the health and safety of others.
That all said, in the City of Los Angeles, no Landlord of a residential property in the City of Los Angeles can evict a residential tenant for nonpayment of rent if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 and the tenant NOTIFIES THE LANDLORD within 7 days of the rent due date. Examples of inability to pay due to Covid 19 include:
Tenants in the City of Los Angeles are still obligated to pay their deferred unpaid rent, but Tenants in the City of Los Angeles will have up to 12 months following the expiration of the local emergency to repay any back owed rent. On March 30, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council extended the repayment period from 6 months to 12 months. In addition, residential landlords of properties located within the City of Los Angeles may not charge a Los Angeles tenant interest or late fees on any deferred or unpaid rent if the tenant can prove that their failure to pay the rent resulted from circumstances related to the COVID-19 emergency.
Tenants in the City of Los Angeles facing eviction will have an affirmative defense in an unlawful detainer (eviction) proceeding if the basis for the eviction is for non-payment of rent and the tenant can prove that the tenant’s inability to pay rent resulted from circumstances related to the COVID-19 emergency. Proof may come in the form of documentation establishing a substantial loss of income, such as a letter from the employer citing COVID-19 as a reason for reduced work hours, furlough or termination, employees paycheck stubs, or the employees bank statements. Under the Governor’s Emergency Order, tenants should provide written notification to their landlord within 7 days of the rent due date.
To qualify for the affirmative defense to a 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent and to qualify for a deferment on the payment of rent from your Landlord, California Tenants MUST:
If a California tenant does not give their California Landlord WRITTEN NOTICE of a valid need for a deferment on their rent and need for a payment plan, the Tenant will NOT have a defense to a Three Day Notice to Pay Rent.
California tenants, especially those in rent controlled units, should exert caution before opting not to pay their rent. There are many California tenant lawyer websites claiming they can delay an eviction for months or years, but such actions may harm your credit score, lead to the need to file for bankruptcy, and potentially cause the loss of your rent controlled apartment. We are advising California tenants to review their finances and savings and if at all possible to pay at least half their monthly rent so they do not fall too far behind. The Covid 19 crisis will come to end and while you may qualify for a deferment on your rent, your rent will likely not be forgiven, and the more you owe the more you will have to pay back.
We are similarly advising California landlords to look at the financial situation of each of their tenants and to provide some latitude, to reduce rents where such would provide stability for both the landlord and the tenant, and to be mindful that the California Courts are Essentially Closed For ALL Evictions Unless Necessary For Public Health and Safety.
New Mandatory Covid 19 Eviction Protection Notice To Tenants. ALL Landlords with residential rental properties in the City of Los Angeles are required to provide each of their tenants written notice of the protections afforded by the Los Angeles City Ordinance enacted on March 31, 2020. Such notice must be provided within thirty (30) days of the effective date of the City Ordinance, and failure to provide this notice may result in monetary penalties. Here is a Sample Notification to Tenants. If you would like my assistance in preparing a payment plan for your tenants, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, but be sure to include your name, telephone number and address of the rental property.
All California landlords should take note that on April 6, 2020 the California Courts issued a statement that they will NOT issue an eviction summons and/or complaint for an unlawful detainer (eviction), or enter a default judgment against a tenant in a pending eviction case until 60 days after Governor Newsom removes the Covid 19 state of emergency UNLESS a court finds that the eviction proceeding should proceed and should be expedited to protect the health of safety of others. In the absence of such a finding, California landlords will have to just wait until the Court allows the filing of an eviction Summons and Complaint against the tenant and even then the tenant may have up to 65 days to respond to the Summons.
Other cities in Los Angeles County that have implemented a moratorium on Residential and Commercial Evictions include: Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pasadena, and Glendale (Eviction Moratorium and Rent Freeze on residential units built prior to February 1, 1995).
Please note that the laws are changing on a daily, if not weekly basis, and we will do our best to update this Article as time permits.
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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.