Today the LA City Council passed new, permanent tenant protections that will help keep thousands of Angelenos housed. When the pandemic began, the City Council had to act fast to protect renters. Every industry was hit hard, people were losing their jobs and the risk of sickness and death was a constant reality. Early on we passed a COVID emergency order and as part of that effort, we enacted unprecedented tenant protections which essentially halted evictions and offered millions of dollars in rental relief.
We are no longer in that incredibly dark place. Many of those protections were entwined in that emergency order. Possibly the last City in the country to let its order end — LA’s COVID protections will expire at the end of this month. However, we are still in a housing crisis and we want to make sure that when these COVID protections sunset, vulnerable renters are protected from evictions. Consequently, we needed to enact new, non-COVID specific renter protections right away that will keep people housed while ensuring property owners get payments they are owed.
If you live in a Rent Stabilized (RSO) unit (generally means your building was built before 1978), you already have wide ranging protections against harassment and eviction. Whether an apartment, house, ADU etc, these rules apply. The new legislation really focuses on folks who live in non-rent stabilized units and who currently have no lease.
One of the big protections is referred to as ‘Just Cause,’ meaning a property owner can’t evict a tenant if rent is paid and lease terms are not violated. With the passage of this new law, Just Cause protections now extend to most non-RSO units. Relocation assistance also expanded to cover more renters if they are evicted. With the extensive expansion of Just Cause protection, short term leases (less than 6 months) are not included, hoping to encourage property owners to take a chance on folks who might not have good credit or be a good risk from their perspective. These tenants should be given a chance to prove that they would be good long term tenants. The short term carve out also allows people who are away for months (traveling nurses, actors and others) to rent out their units without fear that they will have to prove Just Cause and pay relocation costs if their temporary tenant doesn’t move out as promised.
While we will continue to look at other ways to help people rebuild after the height of the pandemic, this is a big step.
Thank you to my colleagues for a unanimous vote. Reaching consensus wasn’t easy, but time was of the essence and together we were able to provide permanent tenant protections for the first time in the City of Los Angeles. Today was a banner day for renter protection!
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