As the "Safer at Home" emergency orders are slowly changing and we are working to adapt to a new normal, it is clear that our economy is still, by far, languishing and it will take a while longer to get back up to speed.
We are still seriously working to provide relief for those who need it. Many more are at risk of falling into hard times as a result of the damage the pandemic has had on our local and national economy.
A simple reminder, please continue to pay your rent if you safely can because your landlord relies on rental income to pay mortgages, fees, maintenance, and other expenses. Reports from Los Angeles Housing+Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) and in the media suggest that more than 80% of residential tenants who can afford to are paying their rent, and residential landlords are, by and large, compliant with the new rules and are working patiently with tenants to work out payment plans while they work to survive the reduced cash flow’s impact on their ability to pay their own property-related expenses. However, we have heard from more than a few tenants whose “bad actor” landlords have harassed tenants into handing over savings and even economic stimulus money in a time when they have lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (And, at the same time, we’ve heard about some tenants who are gaming the situation to avoid paying rent when they may not be in dire straits.)
So for clarity, my staff has compiled a quick summary (below) of LA’s rental regulations to help you know your rights. Please note that all regulations are subject to change as circumstances evolve.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
A QUICK SUMMARY OF L.A.'S RENTAL REGULATIONS DURING THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY
RENT STABILIZATION ORDINANCE (RSO)
Rent cap on all buildings or lots of two units or more built before October 1978, adjusted annually.
- "Just Cause" required for evictions.
- Relocation assistance required (unless the tenant is "at fault.")
STATE AB 1482
Rent cap on all units 15 years or older that are not covered by the RSO.
- Also covers corporate-owned single-family rental homes.
- "Just Cause" required for evictions.
COVID-19 EMERGENCY REGULATIONS
RENT DEFERRAL AND EVICTION PROTECTIONS: Payment of rent may be deferred for loss of income due to workplace closure; childcare obligations or expenses due to school closure; health care expenses for self, household or family; and reasonable expenditures related to government-declared emergency measures. Tenants have up to 12 months after the end of the emergency declaration to repay, or may negotiate a repayment plan with the landlord (preferably with the help of an attorney). Evictions for nonpayment of rent for the above reasons are prohibited during the emergency. Evictions through implementation of the Ellis Act are prohibited during the emergency. No evictions are permitted based on authorized occupants, pets or nuisances if related to COVID-19. No interest or late fees may be charged on deferred rent.
EVICTION PROTECTIONS FOR NON-RSO UNITS: Non-RSO units are covered by emergency eviction protections.
LANDLORD NOTICE TO TENANTS: Landlords must use the official HCIDLA form to notify tenants of COVID-19-related regulations.
TENANT NOTICE TO LANDLORDS: Tenants must notify landlords of the need to not pay rent due to COVID-19-related reasons, however the notice does not have to be in writing, nor be accompanied by documentation. However, tenants should consider using a letter, email or text to do so, and retain proof of financial circumstances, including pay stubs, layoff notice from employer, bank statements, medical notes, and/or notice of school closure in case they may be needed in court proceedings.
FEDERAL STIMULUS CHECKS: Landlords cannot require a tenant to turn over a federal stimulus payment for rent.
RENT FREEZE: Rents may not be increased on RSO units for 360 days after the end of the local emergency declaration.
COMPLAINTS: Tenants who feel their landlords have violated any of these provisions may file complaints with HCIDLA.
PRIVATE RIGHT-OF-ACTION: Tenants have the right to file private legal actions against landlords for violations of COVID-19-related violations.
EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE: Low-income tenants needing help may be eligible for up to 50% subsidy up to a monthly cap of $1,000 for three months. Apply through HCIDLA (Expected to start in June 2020).
COMMERCIAL TENANT EVICTION PROTECTIONS: Commercial tenants (such as shops or offices) may defer rent for up to three months before having to begin repayment, and may not be evicted for such withholding.
(PLEASE NOTE: ALL REGULATIONS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS CIRCUMSTANCES EVOLVE)
Tenant/ Landlord Protection Resources:
If you are a tenant who needs protections, please refer to the following resources that can also be found here on COVID-19 information and resource section of my website http://www.councilmemberpaulkoretz.com.
The City of Los Angeles has tenant protections in place to help prevent the displacement of its residents that are renters. To assist tenants to collaborate with their landlords, HCIDLA is providing a fact sheet and a sample notification form to assist in notifying your landlord of delays in paying your rent during this emergency order period. The COVID-19 Eviction Protections Fact Sheet can also assist landlords to provide such notice to all tenants as required by Ordinance No. 186585. Click here to view the COVID-19 Eviction Protection Fact Sheet
With the COVID-19 Eviction Protections in place, many tenants and landlords have questions which can be answered at HCIDLA's hotline. The hotline will be operational this coming weekend: Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and weekday hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Some landlords have been attempting to take advantage of this crisis by making illegal demands of their tenants, and some tenants have tried to avoid paying rent when the Eviction Protection Ordinance does not warrant doing so. If you’re faced with what you think might be inappropriate behavior, you should call HCIDLA at (866) 557-7368. More information can be found at: hcidla.lacity.org/covid-19-eviction-moratorium
The City has set up a fund to accept donations that will be immediately deployed to pay for rental assistance, meals, supplies, and other necessities. Learn more at https://mayorsfundla.org/covid19/
As part of his Executive Order, the Mayor mandated a moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent due to the coronavirus epidemic.
DWP and the Gas Company have announced they will not turn off service for nonpayment of bills.
Brush Clearance Deadline is June 1st.
Each year, owners with property located in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone are required to clear brush and maintain their property in accordance with the City’s Fire Code. Now more than ever, it’s important for residents to prepare for wildfires and help prevent loss of life by responsibly clearing brush around their homes and buildings.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Fire Department has issued new brush clearance timelines for property owners in high fire zones. The annual Brush Clearance Season has been pushed back from April 30, 2020, to June 1, 2020. Though the inspection deadline has been moved back to June 1, keep in mind that brush clearance is a year-round responsibility. Clear early and clear often. For more information on steps, you can take to prepare for the upcoming wildfire season, click here.
For more information, including current clearance requirements and helpful compliance videos by the LAFD Brush Clearance Unit, please go to LAFD's website.
Need a brush clearance contractor? Check out this helpful list at https://www.lafd.org/fire-prevention/brush/clearance-contractor-list
COVID-19 Arts Emergency Relief Fund, Round Two for Artists and Small Ensembles
COVID-19 has had an unanticipated impact on Los Angeles artists and small arts groups who had planned public performances, only to have those events canceled in a city-wide effort to slow the spread of the virus. The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and Community Partners aim to provide relief to this spectrum of LA-based performing artists who were financially affected by this disruption through Round Two of this emergency grant relief opportunity.
“Community Partners, a prestigious local incubator of public-benefit enterprises, and the Department of Cultural Affairs recognize the tremendous impact COVID-19 is having on artists who live and work in our City and are working together on the thoughtful reallocation of funds to assist local entrepreneurs,” said Danielle Brazell, DCA General Manager. “We hope that funding through this micro granting process will allow artists to recoup a portion of their lost wages and find relief and support during this crisis.”
Apply online at https://culturela.org/grants-and-calls/aer-fund/ by June 1 at 12:00 a.m.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Helpful Reminder from LADWP
As some LA businesses begin to reopen, it is important to flush your pipes and faucets after weeks or months of underuse to ensure water quality. LADWP water is safe, but building plumbing needs flushing to remove sitting water.
More info: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html
DMV offering Expanded Online Services and Further Extends Expiring Drivers License
- Licenses for drivers 70 and older that expire in June or July are extended 120 days
- Expiring licenses for drivers 69 and younger are now valid through July
- Extensions provided to eligible drivers automatically
The California DMV has expanded its Virtual Field Office. Take care of more essential transactions, like requesting a duplicate driver’s license without an office visit! Or visit an easy to use kiosks.
The DMV is also offering additional extensions to non-commercial driver licenses and permits so Californians can delay or avoid a DMV office visit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMV has alerted California law enforcement of the new extensions. Californians with a suspended license are not eligible.
Drivers age 70 and older with a noncommercial license that expires in June or July will receive a 120-day temporary extension. The DMV had previously announced a 120-day extension for licenses expiring in March, April and May, and the DMV is further extending licenses expiring in March to be valid through July 31, 2020. California law requires drivers age 70 and older to visit a DMV field office to renew their license but gives the DMV authority to issue extensions. No individual action is required as eligible drivers will receive a paper license extension in the mail.
Drivers age 69 and younger with a noncommercial license that expires between March and July will receive a temporary extension through July 31, 2020. In most cases, these drivers are eligible for an online renewal and should try to renew their license online. While the extension is automatic, drivers 69 and younger will not receive a new card or an extension in the mail. As an option, these drivers can request a free temporary paper extension online through DMV’s Virtual Field Office to document their extension, though one is not needed to drive. Californians who previously requested an extension through May 31, 2020, are eligible to submit a new request to document the new date.
Driver licensepermits that expire in July or August are extended six months or to a date 24 months from the date of application, whichever is earlier.
All commercial licenses, endorsements and learner’s permits that expire between March and June will remain valid through June 30, 2020, to align with federal guidance. Select DMV offices reopened to the public earlier this month to serve customers with appointments and process transactions that can only be accomplished at an office, including commercial driver license transactions. Commercial drivers also can now submit medical certificate updates for their license through the DMV’s Virtual Field Office.
Learn more at https://virtual.dmv.ca.gov/ or https://cadmvnowkiosk.com/kiosks
Caring for Mother Nature During COVID-19
The LA Sanitation and Environment Department would like to remind everyone that COVID-19 has drastically changed life on planet Earth. As we all do our part to flatten the curve and lessen the impact of this pandemic, let’s continue to care for Mother Nature. Here are a few best environmental practices to consider while you do your part to keep your family, home and neighborhood safe and healthy:
Wash your hands for the prescribed 20 seconds as often as necessary to stay safe, but please do your best to turn the faucet off while you’re washing your hands. On average, one gallon of water flows from a faucet every 30 seconds. Use the same best practice that you would use when brushing your teeth and turn the faucet off when you’re sudsing up your hands with soap to reduce the amount of water flowing needlessly down the drain.
Take care when cleaning or disinfecting surfaces in your home, office and car. It is important to remember that certain cleaning products should never be mixed. Please reference the Center for Disease Control’s best practices for cleaning for the Coronavirus as well as the EPA’s guidelines for which disinfectants to use against COVID-19.
With restaurants switching to takeout services only, Angelenos have the potential to generate a lot of waste. Be sure to dispose of those takeout containers correctly and don’t ask for disposable utensils when you have them at home. Remember if there is food waste in or on the take-out containers, please place the soiled containers in your City-issued black bin. Clean cardboard or Styrofoam containers may be placed in your City-issued blue bin for recycling.
LA Sanitation and Environment is offering temporary free extra collection. Once your bin is emptied you may refill it while our crews is there and they’ll empty it again. This new service will last until the Safer at Home order is lifted.
Please ensure that your used disposable gloves make it into the trash. Do not leave them on the ground. We’re unfortunately finding them littered on streets, gutters, sidewalks, parking lots, yards, and storm drains across Los Angeles. Eventually, they’ll make their way into our local rivers, creeks, lakes and beaches, potentially harming wildlife.
Please flush toilet paper ONLY down the toilet. Disinfecting or wet wipes, paper towels, tissues or anything else that is not toilet paper should never be thrown in a toilet. If you’re using an alternative to toilet paper such as wipes, paper towels, napkins, or tissues, please place those used items in a lined trash can. That liner should be sealed and discarded each night in your black bin. Flushing anything except human waste and toilet paper could clog your pipes or damage the City’s sewer system, each of which could cause a sewage back-up in your home.
Please do not place household hazardous waste or electronic waste in any of your bins and do not leave it outside SAFE Center gates. Electronic waste can be scheduled for curbside pickup using the My311 app or by calling our 24-hour Customer Care Center. Household hazardous waste should be safely stored until SAFE Centers reopen.
LA Sanitation and Environment is committed to providing the same world-class services that you expect during this crisis. Our Customer Care Center is here to answer any questions you may have regarding services. You may call (800) 773-2489 24 hours a day. We also encourage you to sign up to receive emergency alerts from the City of Los Angeles through Notify LA. Stay safe and healthy, LA!
Here to Serve
My office, like all City of Los Angeles offices, is following recommended protocols such as social distancing and working remotely to slow the spread of the coronavirus. That said, my staff and I are always readily available to help with your questions, concerns, and needs during this difficult period. We can be reached by phone at 213-473-7005, 323-866-1828 (West LA), or 818-971-3088 (Encino) and through email email@example.com. Since we are experiencing a higher-than-normal volume of calls, feel free to email the staff member you wish to contact directly. The accompanying link contains those e-mail addresses.
I know these are really confusing times and that new information is changing quickly, so please continue to check and verify official information through these credible resources: