Daily Breeze (Torrance)
Evictions: As federal moratorium ends, what renter protections are left?
Many renters are concerned about their futures after the federal eviction moratorium put in place last year to keep tenants in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic expired over the weekend.
But in California, renters are still safe from no-cause or nonpayment evictions through Sept. 30. And tenants
in Los Angeles County specifically have even more protections through the end of September.
Here are the answers to some likely questions:
Who’s protected under the state eviction moratorium?
AAnyone who experienced financial struggles because of the pandemic is protected from a no-cause or nonpayment eviction from their home if they provide a signed declaration attesting to those difficulties to their landlord within 15 business days of receiving a notice to “pay or quit.” The ban applies to residential tenants who rent a physical structure, such as a house or apartment, and to people who rent land, such as mobile-home owners, for their home.
QWho’s protected under L.A. County’s eviction moratorium?
AThe L.A. County moratorium applies to the same people as the state ban, that is, renters of both buildings and land, but unlike California’s ban, it also applies to commercial tenants. It’s effective in both unincorporated and incorporated L.A. County.
QWhat’s the difference in the state and county bans?
L.A. County’s eviction moratorium goes further than California’s, both in terms of who is protected and what those protections are. The state’s prohibition applies only to evictions for residential tenants, while the county’s includes commercial tenants. And while California law protects renters from nonpayment and no-cause evictions, L.A. County’s law also prevents tenants from being kicked out for:
• No-fault reasons, such as plans to remodel or demolish the property.
• Having unauthorized occupants or pets, if those people or pets need housing because of the pandemic.
• Being a nuisance.
• Denying entry to a landlord.
One exception to L.A. County’s law, though, is that a landlord can evict a tenant from a single-family home if the landlord owned the home before June 30 of this year and intends to use the house as their own residence or as a family member’s residence.
Some cities, such as the city of Los Angeles, also have their own eviction bans in place. But those are only effective if the protections offered are stronger than the county’s. The city’s prohibition, for example, largely mirrors the county’s, except the moratorium lasts through Aug. 1, 2022, nearly a year longer than the county’s or the state’s.
QDoes that mean rent accumulated during the pandemic is waived?
ANo. Both California and L.A. County’s moratoriums
still require tenants to pay back any rent that has accumulated while the eviction bans have been in place. The state law requires renters to pay 25% of the debt they’ve accumulated over the prior year by Sept. 30.
After that point, any unpaid rent from before Sept. 30 that a tenant still owes would become consumer debt, meaning a landlord could pursue it in court or sell it to a collections agency. But the renter could not be evicted because of that debt.
Renters can, however, be evicted for nonpayment if they fail to pay full rent on or after Oct. 1.
People who make 80% or less than their area’s median income, though, have more options. They can apply for the state’s CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program, which will pay owed rent dating back to April 1, 2020, in full, along with up to three months of prospective rent. Once renters apply for that program, their state protection from eviction extends through the end of March.
L.A. County’s law, meanwhile, gives renters until Sept.30 to pay any debts they accumulated before Oct. 1, 2020. Any debts accumulated after that point are subject to payment according to the state’s law.
QWill the state, county or city eviction moratoriums be extended further?
That’s unclear at this point. Throughout the pandemic, the bans have been extended by a few months at a time as COVID-19 has continued to affect the economy and people’s ability to find work. State officials said Monday it was still too early to predict whether the eviction bans will still be necessary after the end of next month.
Where can I learn more?
For more information on the state protections and rental relief program, visit housing .ca.gov. Information on the county’s regulations can be found at dcba.lacounty .gov/noevictions. And for details on the city of Los Angeles’ moratorium, go to hcidla2.lacity.org/highlights/renter-protections.