Eviction protections extended for those waiting on LA’s rental assistance program – Daily News

on Feb3
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council approved a city law Friday that will prohibit landlords from evicting tenants who are awaiting financial disbursement from the city’s most recent rental assistance program.

In a 13-0 vote, council members passed a city law to support tenants as many must pay back overdue rent accrued during the pandemic, specifically from Oct. 21, 2021 and Jan. 31, 2023. The law would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants for 120 days starting from Feb. 1, the deadline by which the overdue rent was to be paid back.

The law will not apply to other pending rental assistance applications outside of those who are awaiting funds from the mentioned time frame, and protections will only cover evictions related to rental debt.

If an applicant has a pending application from this latest round of rent relief, but the tenant is also facing a just cause eviction, they can still face the possibility of being evicted.

Council members Imelda Padilla and Curren Price were absent during the vote.

The law will need approval by Mayor Karen Bass before it can be enacted.

A motion was presented on Jan. 24 by Council members Eunisses Hernandez, Paul Krekorian, Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martinez calling on the city attorney’s office to draft the ordinance, It also instructed the Housing Department to report back on mechanisms needed to ensure a landlord who has accepted city rental assistance funding is not evicting its tenants who owe less than fair market rent.

Last week, the full council had a robust discussion on the motion, and approved it with an amendment.

Prior to the vote, Hernandez emphasized the importance of moving forward with the law that would ensure tenants stay housed as the city sorts out the more than 31,000 applications submitted to receive financial assistance from Measure ULA’s Emergency Renters Assistance Program. City officials set aside $31 million of Measure ULA funding for the program this time around.

According to the Housing Department’s data, the city received more than 31,362 applications, amounting to about $472 million worth in claims. Although the application period closed in late October 2023, the city has only disbursed $7.9 million as of late January.

“It is financially responsible for us to keep people in their homes and off of our streets when it costs tens of thousands of dollars to re-house an individual,” Hernandez said. “It is financially responsible to ensure that the $30 million we’ve invested in ULA fulfills its purpose and provides a lifeline to thousands of tenants.”

She added, “Especially when we know if they qualify, we shouldn’t have that money just sitting collecting dust when it can be a lifesaving mechanism for thousands of people.”

Hernandez reminded her colleagues that they must do everything in their power to protect the people who are most vulnerable and at risk of homelessness in the city.

Housing Department officials noted that it could take several weeks if not months for all of the rental assistance funding to be distributed to applicants.

Of the applications, 84% were from renters who are within or under the 30% AMI threshold, meaning these are the tenants across the city who most need resources, and are at the greatest risk of being evicted. Additionally, 37% of applicants are Black Angelenos, though African Americans make up 9% of the city’s population.

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