LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles renters will be required to pay back all past-rent due acquired during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic by Thursday, officials announced. If tenants fail to do so, officials say they could face eviction.
The repayment deadline marks nearly four years of protection for renters who struggled with either job loss or illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, by Feb. 1, officials want any rent debt accrued between October 2021 and January 2023 to be repaid, or face possible eviction.
An earlier deadline in August 2023 required tenants in the city to repay debts from the first year-and-a-half of the pandemic. Now, the city’s Thursday deadline requires tenants to pay back everything they owe from October 2021 through January 2023.
According to landlords, these protections have thrust the financial burden on the property owner to an unfair degree. But LA city tenant advocate groups say that many renters have yet to recover from the debt acquired during the pandemic, and removing these protections puts many Angelenos at risk of losing their homes.
According to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, an estimated 93,000 renters in Los Angeles could be effected by the dropped protection and be at risk of eviction.
The study showed that half of that 93,000 owe approximately three months or less in back-rent. But researchers found that about 17,000 Angelenos are behind a year or more in rent.
"With the landscape for renters changing once again on February 1, it is imperative that we ensure that Angelenos know their rights and that the City is here to help them," said City Councilmember Nithya Raman, in a statement.
The city’s housing department is encouraging tenants to call their hotline at (866) 557-7368 for help understanding their rights.