A pet-friendly law in L.A. pleases landlords and tenants alike

The South L.A. animal shelter
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It’s Thursday, Jan. 25. I’m Anthony De Leon, a reporting fellow who just joined the newsletter team. You’ll be hearing from me more often. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

L.A. City Council extends law to protect tenants with pandemic-era pets

Nearly 23 million households added a furry friend to their homes during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals data. But for renters, that’s not always straightforward. Leases often forbid tenants from owning pets, or require they receive permission first.

But as pandemic loneliness soared, more and more tenants sneaked their pandemic pets in without their landlords’ knowledge.


For a few years in Los Angeles, tenants were safe. The L.A. City Council adopted temporary COVID-related tenant protection measures in 2020 which allowed tenants living in “no pets” buildings to foster or adopt animals without fear of eviction.

This protection was supposed to expire next week, which would have forced residents to decide between their homes and their pets.

But the City Council has extended it, voting on Tuesday to prevent landlords from evicting tenants who adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How the new law works

Tenants must disclose their unauthorized roommates to their landlords within a month to be protected, essentially letting the cat out of the bag. The protection only applies to pets that started residing in a rental unit before Jan. 31, 2023.

The new law goes into effect immediately.

The law eases two crises plaguing the city


Passing the ordinance eases two crises plaguing the city: homelessness and animal shelter overpopulation, the L.A. Times’ Angie Orellana Hernandez reported.

Evictions across L.A. County increased by thousands last year after pandemic-era moratoriums expired. Roughly 46,000 tenants were evicted countywide, according to court data compiled by the nonprofit advocacy group Strategic Actions for a Just Economy.

At the same time, animal shelters are “bursting at the seams,” the Board of Animal Services Commissioners President Larry Gross told Orellana Hernandez.

The decision eliminates the need for residents to make a tough decision, preventing more animals from going to already overwhelmed and at-capacity shelters.

“It will keep families together because many of these pets were brought in three or four years ago, and they’re part of people’s families,” Gross said.

The California Apartment Assn., representing landlords and property owners, expressed support for the ordinance in a letter to the City Council in December. The organization endorsed the “city’s goal of resolving this unique situation.”


A February 2023 report from the city Department of Animal Services highlighted the concern that the January 2024 expiration of the temporary protection would force people to decide whether to remain housed or give up their pets.

Today’s top stories

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(Denis Poroy / Associated Press)

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Commentary and opinions

Today’s great reads

A man stands in front of a 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup at an EV charging station
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Broken chargers, lax oversight: How California’s troubled EV charging stations threaten emission goals. California’s policies are at least partly to blame. The state chose not to require that charger companies meet performance standards as it doled out $1 billion in subsidies, grants and other assistance to charger companies, with billions more on the way.

Other great reads

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For your downtime

Man riding bike with buildings and palm trees in the background.
(Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times)

Going out

Staying in

And finally ... from our archives

An image of a historical front page.
The Jan. 26, 1971, front page of the L.A. Times features coverage of the Manson murders trial.
(Los Angeles Times)

Here’s the front page of The Times, 53 years ago today. Charles Manson and three of his followers were convicted on all 27 counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to murder in the killings of seven people, including actor Sharon Tate.

Have a great day, from the Essential California team
Anthony De Leon, reporting fellow
Kevinisha Walker, multiplatform editor
Karim Doumar, head of newsletters

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