Moratorium will end by February 2023
By Dolores Quintana
After almost three years, The Los Angeles City Council has voted to end the COVID-19 eviction protections by February of 2023. After receiving a report from their staff, the City Council held a vote on October 4.
Covid eviction protections have been controversial because landlord groups feel as if they were being treated unfairly. The ordinance stated that “No Owner shall endeavor to evict or evict a residential tenant for a no-fault reason during the Local Emergency Period.” to protect tenants who were not able to work because of the Covid shutdown and who had trouble finding work in the disarrayed economy after the shutdown ended.
The vote to allow the Covid eviction protections to sunset as of February 1, 2023, passed with 14 yes votes. City Council President Nury Martinez said, “…the goal is [to] preserve the livelihood of our housing providers while still transitioning from temporary Covid era protections to permanent tenant protections.
City Council President Martinez expanded on the topic by saying,” This policy was intended solely to keep people housed and keep them off the streets. Now it is time that we not only keep people off the streets, that we protect people’s housing and protect their financial well-being.”
Landlord Wayne Harris said, as quoted by The Los Angeles Times, “I worked hard all my life to purchase my building, not to house people rent-free. If the government wants to implement something where people don’t have to pay rent, implement something where we get paid and made whole.”
Past due rent accrued during the pandemic was not forgiven, so renters will have to pay the back rent but have until, at a minimum, August of 2023 to do so.
According to the Los Angeles Times, evictions have been ramping up since June of this year, “Residential eviction filings across L.A. County in June totaled nearly 3,400, according to L.A. County Superior Court records compiled by Kyle Nelson, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA.” and have finally managed to return to a level that is higher than pre-pandemic eviction rates.
The motion passed at the October 4th vote after open public comment and comments from City Council members by a vote of 12 ayes and three abstentions due to absence. Councilmembers Bonin, Krekorian and Price were the abstaining members.