LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to end the eviction moratorium that was placed during the COVID-19 pandemic to help renters.
The council voted 12-0 to approve a package of recommendations from a council committee, following a spirited public comment session that featured both tenants advocating for continued protections and mom-and-pop landlords pleading for the restrictions to end.
The moratorium will end Jan. 31, 2023. Tenants who have missed payments since March 2020 would have to meet two re-payment deadlines. Under state law, they would have until Aug. 1, 2023, to pay back missed rent between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021. Under the city's moratorium, tenants would have until Feb. 1, 2024, to re-pay rent accumulated from Oct. 1, 2021 to Feb. 1, 2023.
Landlords would be able to resume increasing rent on rent-controlled apartments, which account for three-quarters of apartments in Los Angeles, beginning in February 2024.
The city would provide relocation assistance for all evictions deemed no-fault evictions and protections against no-fault evictions for unauthorized pets for an additional year.
Another recommendation from the committee would implement universal just cause rules, requiring specific reasons for landlords to evict tenants in all units, not just those under rent control.
Rent controlled housing accounts for three-quarters of apartments in Los Angeles.
Council President Nury Martinez called the vote a compromise that "preserves the livelihood of our renters while still transitioning from COVID- era protections to permanent tenant protections."
"We cannot let this burden fall on either side, whether it's the tenants or the mom-and-pop landlords," Martinez said. "This policy that was put into place two years ago was intended solely to keep people housed and keep them off the streets. Now it is time that we not only keep people off the streets, but we also protect people's housing and preserve their financial well- being."
For the past few months, council members have grappled with those two sides. Housing groups believe ending the moratorium will place thousands of families impacted by the pandemic into limbo, while landlords claim current conditions are different from those at the onset of the pandemic and renters should no longer be able to use COVID-19 hardship as a reason to eschew paying rent.
The council voted to explore initiating universal just-cause rules, which would require specific reasons for landlords to evict tenants in all units, not just those under rent control. It also supported providing relocation assistance for all evictions deemed no-fault evictions.
Tenants also cannot be subjected to a no-fault eviction for unauthorized pets until Jan. 31, 2024. Other renter protection plans were noted as "report backs," with several council members urging the city to enact those protections before the moratorium expires next year.