As Tenants Fail to Pay Rent During Pandemic, Councilman Advocates for Rent Forgiveness – NBC Los Angeles

on May1
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Nearly 10% of tenants nationwide couldn’t pay their April rent, according to some studies, and experts believe that number will only rise for May.  

There are three main questions LA renters keep asking when it comes to paying rent during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In one such example, a Sylmar resident said he received a contract; a  “promise to pay rent.”

It’s one of several tactics LA Councilmember David Ryu says landlords use to manipulate tenants. He says he’s cracked down on about 50 landlords. 

Large crowds gathered to protest California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to close beaches in Orange County, Calif., after large crowds were seen at beaches last weekend.

“There are a few bad seeds out there. And when I say bad seeds, I mean shameless,” Ryu said. 

So can a landlord ask you to sign a repayment plan?

Or prove you’re unemployed?

Or prove you don’t have rent money?

The answer is no. 

Tenants have one simple obligation.

“The only thing required by law if you’re affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, is that you have to tell your landlord within seven days of your rent being due or after its due that you can’t pay rent,” Ryu said. 

Many tenants say a rent forbearance isn’t good enough. They want rent forgiveness. 

EDD has been overwhelmed with applications. Randy Mac reports April 30, 2020.

Ryu says the city doesn’t have the power to make that call, but the federal government does. He’s advocating for rent forgiveness in an upcoming bailout package. 

“Most Angelenos and American families will not be able to get themselves out of that debt. That’s where we need rent and mortgage forgiveness. So we can actually pull out these families from having this debt that’s inescapable,” he said. 

Tenants are also asking if landlords can raise rent right now.

That answer is more complicated from a legal standpoint.

The city did freeze rents for tenants who live in buildings built before 1978. But there’s a legal tussle over whether it can do the same for newer buildings.  

“This shouldn’t even be a political or legal argument. This should be a common sense argument. People are struggling,” he said. “The government told people to stay at home. Don’t go to work. Close down your business. The least we can do is make sure your rent doesn’t go up.”

There are the following resources for tenants who are struggling right now. 




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