LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles City Council is seeking more ways to help struggling renters and landlords during the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly 60% of Angelenos rent their properties and the council has been scrambling to offer relief to renters and landlords.
The council says rent forgiveness is out of their control since it's up to the state and federal governments.
However, they are moving forward to extend the grace period for landlords and property owners to 12 months. Currently, there is a three-month grace period to pay back due payments for homeowners.
For renters, there is a one year grace period amid the coronavirus crisis.
“What we’re trying to do is find other ways to create a special fund like the Renters Relief Fund where people have access to. For people to be able to pay their rent and landlords can pay their loans," said Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez. "Poverty was already here before the crisis. People were already barely making ends meet. The average rent in Los Angeles County is $2500 for a 2 bedroom apartment.”
The council also voted to halt rent increases for the next year.
Martinez also introduced a motion to take legal action against the federal government over stimulus checks.
“We’re a city of immigrants. We are a country made of immigrants and unfortunately, the federal government does not recognize that. Stimulus dollars and federal funds that they have appropriated will not benefit undocumented families. They will not get a cent from this budget and so we need to ensure that we have programs in place to help those families repay their rent when the crisis is over,” said Martinez.
The motion introduced last week seeks to take legal action against the federal government over excluding children and spouses of immigrants in relief funding.
Martinez says the Renters Relief Fund unanimously approved last week will be available for Angelenos regardless of their citizenship status. The council president dedicated $1 million from her council district discretionary funds as seed money for the fund, Councilman Mitch O'Farrell also contributed $1 million from his district and Councilman Herb Wesson put in $150,000.
“What we’re trying to do is find other ways to create a special fund like the Renters Relief Fund where people have access to. For people to be able to pay their rent and landlords can pay their loans,” said Martinez.
Council members are also set to vote Wednesday on creating an Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Investment. The committee would be put in place to ensure $700 million in federal CARE funds are thoughtfully considered and prioritized and invested in neighborhoods that need it.