COVID-19, Highlights|

What you need to know about L.A.'s Renter Protections

The City of Los Angeles Declaration of Local Emergency effective on March 4, 2020, terminated on February 1, 2023. The provisions apply to all residential rental units in the City of Los Angeles.

Non-Payment of Rent

The City’s local COVID emergency order expired on January 31, 2023. Beginning February 1, 2023, tenants must pay their full current monthly rent in order to avoid eviction for non-payment of rent. Low-income renters with income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) that could not pay rent due to COVID-19 financial impact continued to have protections through March 31, 2023, if they notified their landlord within 7 days of the rent due date unless extenuating circumstances existed. 

State Law on Non-Payment of Rent Eviction Protections

Tenants who provided their landlord with a COVID-19 Related Declaration of Financial Distress Form by the 15-Day deadline for rent owed from March 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020, cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent from that period. A landlord can pursue a court action in small claims court for this rent. Tenants who provided their landlord with a COVID-19 Related Declaration of Financial Distress Form by the 15-Day deadline AND paid 25% of their rent to the landlord for rent owed from September 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent from that period. A landlord can pursue a court action in small claims court for this rent.

COVID-19 Rental Debt

Tenants who are not covered by the Declaration of Financial Distress process described above continue to have protections for unpaid COVID-19 rental debt and must pay their debt as follows in order to avoid eviction:

  • Rent owed from March 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021, tenants must pay by August 1, 2023.
  • Rent owed from October 1, 2021 to January 31, 2023, tenants must pay by February 1, 2024.

Eviction Protections for ULA ERAP Tenant-Approved Applications

The City Council extended eviction protections through May 31, 2024, to tenants with ULA ERAP applications that have been approved and are waiting for their applications to be funded. To determine if a tenant’s application is approved, you can check the ULA ERAP application status, which will indicate: ‘Tenant Approved.’ Check the status of your Application.

Unauthorized Pets Eviction Protection & Additional Tenant Rent Increase

Effective February 5, 2024, the City Council approved Ordinance No. 188108 to provide eviction protection to tenants with brought into the unit before January 31, 2023, due to COVID-19, even if the pet was not allowed under the lease/rental agreement. A tenant who has yet to inform their landlord of their pet due to COVID-19 must do so before March 5, 2024, to avoid eviction due to an unauthorized pet related to COVID-19.

Effective February 1, 2024, landlords may charge an additional 10% for each additional tenant brought into a unit subject to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance before January 31, 2024. This rent increase can only be applied if the number of tenants exceeds the initial number of tenants on the lease/rental agreement or who moved in initially. A landlord may not increase the rent for the first minor dependent child added to the tenancy. Rent increases for unauthorized additional tenants who moved in before January 1, 2024, must be provided an advance written notice of rental increase on or before March 1, 2024. If a 10% rent increase becomes effective and the additional tenant subsequently moves, the landlord must decrease the rent by 10%. A landlord cannot unreasonably deny authorization of an additional tenant.

Just Cause Tenant Eviction Protections

Effective January 27, 2023, eviction protections now apply to most rental properties in the City of Los Angeles, including single-family homes, and condominiums. Rental units built after October 1, 1978, that are not currently covered by the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) are covered by the City’s Just Cause Eviction Protections Ordinance. Tenants become protected at the end of their first lease, or 6 months after a new lease, whichever comes first. The new protections require that landlords must have a legal reason to evict a tenant. Tenant no-fault evictions require the payment of relocation assistance such as owner occupancy, government order, demolition, or withdrawal of the rental property from the rental housing market. Click here for a list of at-fault legal reasons for eviction. Click here for a list of no-fault legal reasons for eviction. 

Notice to Terminate Tenancy/Eviction Filing

Effective January 27, 2023, any written notice terminating a tenancy for a tenant at-fault legal reason must be filed with the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) within three (3) business days of service on the tenant per Los Angeles Municipal Code 151.09.C.9 & 165.05.B.5. At-fault eviction notices can be uploaded here. All no-fault evictions must be filed with LAHD, submit required fees, and pay the tenant relocation assistance. Please click here for the Declaration of Intent to Evict forms required for all no-fault reasons and information on how to submit the forms.

Protections Notice

All landlords of residential properties must provide a Notice of Renters’ Protections to tenants who begin or renew their tenancy on or after January 27, 2023. This notice must also be posted in an accessible common area of the property. Click here to download the Protections Notice. 

RSO Rent Increase

Annual rent increases for rental units subject to the City of Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) are prohibited through January 31, 2024. The City Council approved a 4% rent increase for properties subject to the RSO from February 1, 2024 through June 30, 2024. An additional 1% for gas and 1% for electric service can be added if the landlord provides the service to the tenant. State law requires landlords to provide an advance 30-day written notice for rent increases of less than 10%. 

To determine if your unit is subject to the RSO, click here. (zimas.lacity.org). Enter your address, click the Housing tab, and the RSO status will be indicated for the property. For questions, please call the LAHD hotline at 866-557-7368.

 

Economic Displacement (More than 10% Rent Increase)

Effective March 27, 2023, tenants who receive a rent increase of more than 10% within 12 months and are unable to afford the rent increase have the option to receive relocation assistance to move out of their rental unit instead. The relocation amount is based on the bedroom size of the rental unit. Relocation assistance for tenants who rent a Single Family Dwelling (SFD) is one month’s rent if the landlord is a natural person who owns no more than four (4) residential units and a SFD on a separate lot in the City of Los Angeles.

Evictions for Non-Payment of Rent

Effective March 27, 2023, landlords may not evict a tenant who falls behind in rent unless the tenant owes an amount higher than the Fair Market Rent (FMR). The FMR depends on the bedroom size of the rental unit. For example, if a tenant rents a 1-bedroom unit and the rent is $1,500, the landlord cannot evict the tenant since the rent owed is less than the FMR for a 1-bedroom unit.

City of Los Angeles COVID-19 Ordinances

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. On March 15th, former Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti issued an Emergency Order which implemented measures to protect the public and contain the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, on March 23rd the Mayor issued a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent for tenants who are unable to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ordinance No.186585 effective March 31, 2020, provided additional protections and effective May 12, 2020, Ordinance No. 186606, further expanded tenants protections during the local emergency in response to COVID-19. Together, these actions were designed to prevent unnecessary housing displacement and to prevent housed individuals from falling into homelessness.

From March 30, 2020 through January 31, 2024, rent increases are prohibited for rental units subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). For more information please read the Ordinance 186607 and Mayor’s Order issued on March 30, 2020.

Stay Housed LA Service

Stay Housed L.A. Logo

Stay Housed L.A. is a partnership between Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles and local community and legal service providers. The program provides free legal assistance to tenants facing wrongful eviction. Income eligible tenants receive the legal help they need to stay in their homes. For more information, visit https://www.stayhousedla.org/.

How will the City implement the residential eviction moratorium?

Affirmative Defense

Tenants facing eviction have an affirmative defense if the proposed eviction is for non-payment of rent and the tenant’s inability to pay rent results from circumstances related to the COVID-19 emergency. Tenants or their attorneys can raise the existence of this moratorium as a defense in an Unlawful Detainer action. Tenants and their attorneys may argue that they are an Affected Tenant by providing documentation to the Landlord that they have lost substantial income.

LAHD Administrative Process

Additionally, the Los Angeles Housing  Department (LAHD) will intake tenant complaints and inform both landlords and tenants of the requirements of the renter protections. LAHD will conduct an investigation similar to the existing process for enforcement of tenant protections under the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).

Eviction complaints can be filed:

Electronically at: housing.lacity.org/File-a-Complaint

Telephone Hotline at (866) 557-7368.

Complaints will be assigned to a Housing Investigator, who will investigate the tenant’s claim and advise the landlord and tenant of their findings.

Questions and Answers

JUST CAUSE ORDINANCE (JCO)

Q: What units are covered by the Just Cause Ordinance (JCO)?

A: The Just Cause Ordinance (JCO) covers most residential properties in the City of Los Angeles that are not regulated by the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance.  In order to apply to a tenancy, it requires that the tenant either have lived in the same unit for 6 months or that their initial original lease expired, whichever comes first.  There are other specific exceptions to the JCO such as licensed care facilities, landlord roommates, transient hotels, some non-profits facilities for the homeless or short term treatments related to substance abuse, HACLA owned properties and government paid for rent to help homeless.

The JCO requires a legal reason to terminate tenancy, requires relocation assistance for no-fault evictions, but does not regulate rent increase.

Q: Are single-family dwellings (SFD) covered by the Just Cause Ordinance (JCO)?

A; Yes, SFDs are covered under JCO however, the relocation assistance amount varies. If the owner of the SFD is a natural person, including natural persons who hold properties in a trust or registered legal entity controlled by a natural person, who owns no more than four dwelling units and a SFD on a separate lot in the City of Los Angeles, the relocation assistance amount is one month’s rent that was in effect when the landlord served the written notice to terminate the tenancy.

Q: Does the Just Cause Ordinance regulate rent increases?

A: No, the JCO only provides legal reasons for eviction. However, AB 1482 may regulate the rent amount in buildings that are at least 15 years or older. Effective August 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023, the maximum allowable increase is 10%.  (The percentage may change every year. Annual rent increases are limited to no more than 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living for the region in which the property is located, or 10% whichever is lower).

PROTECTIONS NOTICE

Q: I am a landlord and my tenant moved in two years ago, do I still have to post the new Notice since it was before January 27, 2023?

A: Yes, you must post the Notice on the property and only issue the Notice to the tenant if they moved in or renewed their tenancy on or after January 27, 2023. The Notice must be posted in an accessible common area of the property. If a common area does not exist, post it where it is visible to the tenant(s).

COVID-19 RENTAL DEBT

Q: My landlord is pressing for a repayment plan for the unpaid COVID-19 debt. Can landlords require tenants to agree to a repayment plan although my income is still impacted by COVID-19?

A: No, a tenant is not required to enter into a repayment plan for unpaid rent. However, it is a good idea to keep your landlord updated on when you will be able to pay back the rent if possible. Tenants have until August 1, 2023, to pay back unpaid COVID-19 debt from rent owed from 3/1/2020 to 9/30/2021; and rent owed from 10/1/2021 to 1/31/2023 tenants must pay by February 1, 2024.

Q: My apartment is in the City of LA, does the County provision still apply to me if I am low-income and unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 for the months of February and March 2023?

A: Yes, the County provision applies to City residents that meet the County provisions and provide the landlord Notice within 7 days of the rent due date. Click here for a sample notice to provide to your landlord. 

Q: I am still impacted by COVID-19, will my landlord be able to evict me if I do not pay my rent beginning on April 1, 2023?

A: Yes, tenants must pay their full current monthly rent since there are no longer eviction protections due to COVID-19 for non-payment of rent beginning April 1, 2023. Tenants still have eviction protections for unpaid COVID-19 rental debt accrued from 3/1/2020 to 1/31/2023.

EVICTION NOTICES

Q: I am a landlord and want to know if I have to file the eviction notice with LAHD after I serve the tenant a 3-Day Notice or when I file the Unlawful Detainer in Court.

A: In this case, it is the 3-Day Notice must be filed with LAHD within 3 business days of providing it to the tenant. 

RELOCATION ASSISTANCE

Q: I noticed relocation assistance for a Single-Family Dwelling (SFD) is lower for a no-fault eviction for properties subject to JCO. Is a condominium the same as an SFD?

A: No, a condominium is not a Single-Family Dwelling. A condominium would not be eligible for the lower relocation amount for a no-fault eviction under JCO or for Economic Displacement.

Q: What is the difference between an eligible tenant and a qualified tenant for relocation assistance?

A: The amount of relocation assistance depends on whether the tenant is an Eligible or Qualified tenant, the length of tenancy, and the tenant’s income. Please click here for more information.

 

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