LA County emphasizes protections for tenants affected by COVID-19
Rent is due for many Los Angeles County residents who have lost their sources of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The County wants the public to know that there are protections in place for renters who are at-risk of being evicted, or not able to pay utility bills, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Kathryn Barger has signed an executive order banning landlords from evicting residential renters affected by the coronavirus. The ban is in place through May 31, 2020. The order states:
“During this local emergency, and in the interest of protecting the public health and preventing transmission of COVID-19, it is essential to avoid unnecessary housing displacement, protect the County’s affordable housing stock, and prevent housed individuals from falling into homelessness.”
The order protects people who have suffered “financial impacts” due to the coronavirus. This means a substantial loss of household income due to business closure, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, layoffs, extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses or child care needs arising from school closures.
The protection extends to those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are caring for someone diagnosed with the virus. The order also protects individuals who have suffered financial impacts due to compliance with the County’s recommendation to stay at home, self-quarantine or due to avoiding congregating with others during the state of emergency. The ban on evictions applies to only unincorporated LA County; the cities of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Glendale, Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica, South Pasadena, and West Hollywood have issued similar orders.
Under the order, tenants must notify their landlord in writing within a week after their rent is due — unless there are extenuating circumstances — that they are unable to pay their rent because of the pandemic.
At the Board of Supervisors meeting on March 31, 2020, Supervisor Barger co-authored a separate motion with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to prevent water utility shut-offs due to late or non-payment due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the Safer at Home order. The motion ensures that all people in LA County will continue to have access to running water during this public health crisis. This enables compliance with public health guidelines to wash hands often and have access to clean drinking water.
Public utilities have announced that they will suspend service disconnections for nonpayment and waive late fees, effective immediately, for residential and business customers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Los Angeles County residents can find more resources and information about COVID-19 online at https://covid19.lacounty.gov/ or dial 2-1-1.