Los Angeles County Extends Eviction Moratorium through June 30, 2021

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When will the pain end for Los Angeles county landlords, especially small mom-and-pop landlords? Not anytime soon, thanks to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. On February 23, 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the county moratorium on evictions through June 30, 2021. But that’s not all. The Board also voted to add additional tenant protections at the expense of landlords throughout the county. This article will outline some of the main parts to the Los Angeles county eviction moratorium and its extension through June 30, 2021.

The LA county eviction moratorium protects tenants much more than the state law, SB 91. Under the LA county eviction moratorium, in effect through June 30, 2021, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for a no-fault reason. Further, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for nuisance, unauthorized occupants, or pets, if COVID-related. Even more absurd is that a landlord can be denied entry to their own property, unless the reason for the entry has to do with making substantial repairs that endangers health or safety, or if the tenant is causing or threatening to cause substantial damage. (Even though the tenant may not have been paying rent for many months, the landlord is still obligated to maintain the habitability of the property and make repairs.) Landlords are prohibited from harassing tenants or taking retaliatory action against a tenant, and the moratorium has a long list of what could be considered as harassment or retaliation. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), there is a lack of protections for landlords when the tenant is harassing or retaliating against the landlord.

One of the most shocking items in the Los Angeles county eviction moratorium is that if a landlord violates the moratorium, the county can impose administrative fines against the landlord. Further, any tenant, or any other person or entity acting on behalf of the tenant, including the county, may file a civil action against the landlord/owner. There is also the possibility of criminal liability for landlords/owners who violate the moratorium. There is no “warning” requirement, meaning, if a landlord accidentally violates one of the rules, the landlord is liable without pre-existing warning or notice. There will be many landlords, especially small mom-and-pop landlords, who have no intention of violating the LA county eviction moratorium, but due to the many complexities and outrageous rules imposed, may inadvertently violate a rule, opening themselves up to potential liability. To show some semblance of fairness, the county should at least require notice to the owner of an alleged violation and provide the owner a reasonable opportunity to cure the violation prior to allowing someone to take action against the landlord for an alleged violation. As of February 24, 2021, there is no such notice requirement in the moratorium.

The Los Angeles county eviction moratorium applies in all unincorporated parts of the county and, effective September 1, 2020, it also applies to incorporated cities if the city doesn’t have their own eviction moratorium that provides greater protections than the county moratorium.

The State of California already has in place statewide renter protections under SB 91. The Los Angeles county eviction moratorium is in addition to the statewide renter protections.

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This article is courtesy of the Law Office of David Piotrowski, a California law firm representing landlords with eviction matters.

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The Law Office of David Piotrowski

represents California landlords.

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