Client Alert: City of LA Passes Wide-Sweeping Tenant Protections
Late Friday night (March 27, 2020), the Los Angeles City Council approved a local ordinance that would provide even stronger residential tenant protections than what either Governor Gavin Newsom or Mayor Eric Garcetti had previously proposed. The City Council voted to give residential tenants 12 months after the lifting of the local emergency period to pay outstanding rent (Mayor Garcetti had proposed six months). The ordinance specifically states the following:
- No landlord shall “exercise a no-fault eviction”;
- No landlord shall “exercise an eviction during the local emergency period based on the presence of unauthorized occupants, pets or nuisance related to Covid-19”;
- No landlord shall “charge interest or a late fee on rent not paid under the provisions of this ordinance; and
- Each landlord (in the City of Los Angeles) MUST “give written notice of the protections afforded by this article with 30 days of its effective date. Failure to provide notice may result in penalties.”
Also, all Ellis Act evictions and withdrawals of occupied units have been suspended while the local emergency period is in place. It appears that private agreements to vacate between tenants and landlords are still allowed to go through – but landlords should be very careful in handling these agreements so as to not appear as though the tenant is being pushed out of his/her unit.
Commercial tenants will be provided with three months after the end of the local emergency period to pay past due rent. However, the protections do NOT apply to any commercial real property leased by a multi-national company, a publicly traded company, or a company that employs more than 500 employees.
The City Council did leave open the possibility that the 12 month period could be revised in a future ordinance, but for now, any residential tenant who claims they are unable to pay their rent due to loss of income from 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 someone with Covid-19, or for “reasonable expenditures that stem from government ordered emergency measures” is granted this protection. Nothing in the ordinance eliminates the obligation of any tenant (Commercial or Residential) to pay lawfully charged rent.
According to the City Council’s website, the Mayor had not yet signed the ordinance, which will become law if the Mayor does not act by April, 7, 2020.
Click here to view the ordinance.
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