What to know about LA’s new tenant protection laws

The Los Angeles City Council finalized the latest of its new tenant protections on Tuesday, with only minor changes from the package unanimously approved at the end of January.

Several elements of the package — such as protections against “just cause” evictions and a rent refund schedule — have already gone into effect, while two other provisions are expected to go into effect in mid-March.

The two new provisions will establish a minimum eviction threshold for tenants who are in arrears with rent and will require landlords to pay relocation fees in certain situations involving large rent increases.

The legislation package will be especially important for tenants who live in apartments that fall outside the city’s rent stabilization ordinance, which generally only applies to apartments built before October 1978.

Here’s an overview of what all the new laws will do and when various aspects of the package will come into effect:

What are the “just cause” eviction rules?

Landlords will no longer be allowed to evict tenants from any rental property, including single family homes, unless there has been unpaid rent, documented lease violations, landlord moves in or other reasons specific. The city’s housing department lists the legal reasons for eviction allowed “at fault” and “no fault”. Landlords will also have to pay tenants moving assistance if the eviction is for “no fault” reasons.

Some tenants, including those in rent-stabilized housing, already have “just cause” eviction protections, but making them universal expands the protections to about 400,000 additional units, according to the city’s housing department. This is one of the most important parts of the package as all units in the city are now covered by the wards.

This law is already in force and the rules will apply after six months of living in a dwelling or upon expiry of a lease, whichever comes first.

How long will tenants have to repay rent debts related to COVID-19?

Below the new rules, tenants will have until August 1 to repay rent accrued between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. Tenants will have until February 1, 2024 to repay rent accrued between October 1, 2021 and January 1, 2021. 31, 2023.

In general, tenants must pay their debt within these deadlines in order to avoid an eviction procedure. According to the Housing Department, there are certain exemptions under state law for tenants who previously provided landlords with a COVID-19 financial distress statement form within set time frames, although landlords can still sue for that rent in small claims court.

What about unauthorized pets or residents not listed on the lease?

The new policy will block evictions until February 2024 for tenants who have unauthorized pets or who have added residents who are not on the leases. Landlords will also need to serve a 30-day “heal notice” before evicting a tenant for unauthorized occupants or pets, giving the tenant an opportunity to resolve the issue.

Is there a new rent threshold a tenant must pay before they can be evicted for non-payment?

Yes. The amount a tenant owes will have to exceed one month’s “fair rent” before they can be evicted for non-payment.

An important thing to note here is that the threshold is not based on a tenant’s individual monthly rent. The “fair market rent” is a fixed figure established each year for the area by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, based on the number of bedrooms in the apartment.

For fiscal year 2023, the fair market rent for the Los Angeles area is $1,747 for a one-bedroom apartment, $2,222 for a two-bedroom, $2,888 for a three-bedroom, and $3,170 for a a four-bedroom, according to HUD.

This order is expected to come into effect in mid-March.

Who does the Relocation Assistance Act apply to and how will it work?

A separate law will require landlords to pay moving costs if the rent is increased by more than 10%, or 5% plus inflation.

This law will only apply to a relatively small portion of the city’s rental stock, as the city’s rent stabilization ordinance and statewide rent cap provisions already prohibit such rent increases for most units. About 84,000 units built since 2008 will be covered by the law, according to the city’s housing department.

In most cases, relocation assistance will be three times the unit’s fair market rent (based on HUD numbers) plus $1,411 in moving expenses.

This order is expected to come into effect in mid-March.

How do the city and county’s COVID-19 anti-eviction rules play into all of this?

The council had been under tremendous pressure to approve substantial new protections for tenants by the end of January, when the city’s emergency COVID-19 anti-eviction rules were due to expire.

But this pressure on deadlines eased slightly just before the end of the month, when county leaders voted out of the blue to extend their own COVID-19 eviction rules, which were also due to expire at the end of January.

County rules — which prohibit landlords from evicting low-income tenants who say they have been financially harmed by COVID-19 and cannot pay rent — will now remain in effect until the end of March. These county rules also apply in the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Times

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button