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Housing & Homelessness

Renters hit by coronavirus are eligible for new eviction protections in L.A. County

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, right, with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in 2015.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, right, with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in 2015.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Renters living in unincorporated Los Angeles County now have new tools to prevent eviction following a vote by the Board of Supervisors in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under a measure approved Tuesday, tenants can inform their landlords in writing that they’re unable to pay because of economic or medical hardships related to the virus — as long as it is within seven days after rent is due. That will be enough to prevent an eviction.

Additionally, renters in unincorporated areas now have one year to repay past-due rent.

“I hope that this will help us to keep people in the homes that they’re now required to stay in 24/7,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said during Tuesday’s meeting.

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The new rules do not cover renters living in cities that have passed their own eviction rules, including Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Culver City and Pasadena. However, any city in L.A. County that has not enacted such protections must abide by the county’s order.

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The county’s measure is more generous to tenants than what was passed by the city of Los Angeles.

Under the city’s rules, tenants are required to keep bank statements, pay stubs or other financial documentation to prove they’ve been affected by the coronavirus. Though tenants don’t have to provide that information to the their landlords, they may need it or a potential eviction hearing once the state of emergency that city declared for the coronavirus crisis has ended.

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The county, meanwhile, says landlords must accept without further documentation their renters’ written notice about not being able to pay rent because of the virus.

Currently, courts in L.A. County and around the state are not processing most eviction cases, but renters still may have to go to court eventually if they don’t pay rent in April or May.

The county also voted to temporarily halt rent increases for apartments in unincorporated areas subject to rent control rules. That covers about 43,500 units built on or before Feb. 1, 1995. Any rent increases that occurred on April 1 will need to be rolled back, and any increases planned for May cannot go into effect.

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The supervisors also advanced a plan to use money that the county received from the federal stimulus package to create a rental assistance fund for affected tenants.


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