Burbank places moratorium on evictions

The Burbank City Council on Tuesday passed an urgency ordinance that prohibits the eviction of residential and commercial renters in the city.
(Tim Berger/Burbank Leader)

The closure of businesses throughout the state, combined with the shelter-in-place orders given to the public to slow the spread of the coronavirus have many workers and business owners worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage.

To address those concerns — at least for several weeks — the Burbank City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to adopt an urgency ordinance that prohibits the eviction of residential and commercial tenants for not being able to pay their rent due to lost income and/or increased medical expenses related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The moratorium also urges financial institutions to put a hold on mortgage foreclosures on residential and commercial properties for the same reasons.

The emergency order went into effect Tuesday night and will last through April 30, unless extended by the City Council.

During that time period, city staff will be tasked with finding subsidies to further assist tenants and landlords for the foreseeable economic downturn as many people are unable to go to work during the global crisis.

Burbank’s urgency ordinance follows the guidelines laid out in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order on Monday, which allows local municipalities to adopt their own measures to protect residential and commercial renters who are unable to work due to business closures or reduced hours.

However, Burbank City Atty. Amy Albano said the ordinance does not mean that the rent is forgiven. When the order sunsets, renters will have to pay their landlord what is due within a six-month grace period.

The Media Capital of the World is not alone in these protective efforts. Cities around the nation — Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Miami-Dade County, Fla., Baltimore, Md. and Boston, Mass. — are either considering or have already taken action, Albano said.

While the urgency ordinance is set to expire in about six weeks, Councilman Jess Talamantes expressed an interest in having the order continued through the end of May.

“I’m just looking at the circumstances of what we’ve been through so far, what we’re looking at over the next several months — it’s not going to be a quick fix,” Talamantes said.

However, his colleagues on the dais were not in favor of having the protections last for about 10 weeks from the get-go. They would rather wait for updates on the pandemic and potential economic stimulus packages and then decide if extending the ordinance is necessary.

“I don’t have a problem extending it after April 30 when I see the facts and evidence [to do so],” Vice Mayor Bob Frutos said.

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