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April 01, 2020 | April 17, 2020 | 1,530 total views

LAHSA's Legislative Affairs team continues to monitor all ongoing legislation in response to the COVID 19 pandemic from the city and county of Los Angeles, State of California, and the Federal government. 

City and County Responses

  • On April 6, the California Judicial Council issued an emergency rule that temporarily halts eviction proceedings for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. The order applies to all eviction cases, regardless of cause, unless deemed necessary to protect to public health and safety. Accordingly, the County of Los Angeles Superior Court has suspended eviction proceedings until further notice.
  • The City of Los Angeles is moving forward with eviction restrictions in response to the public health crisis, prohibiting evictions on account of non-payment of rent when that non-payment is a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis. If  tenants are unable to make payments, they are required to notify landlords in writing prior to or within seven days of the payment due date. Though tenants are not required to submit documentation of their reasons for inability to pay, they are strongly advised to collect documentation, if possible, in the event of legal action. Following the lifting of the emergency, tenants will have a 12-month grace period to pay back rent to their landlord. In addition, tenants may not be evicted for unauthorized occupants, pets, and nuisance infractions, if they are a result of the public health crisis.
  • The County of Los Angeles has suspended "no-cause" evictions in Unincorporated Los Angeles, and also placed a moratorium on evictions related to non-payment of rent and unauthorized occupants, pets or nuisance infractions resulting from the health emergency. Like the City of Los Angeles, the County has mandated at least a 12 month period for tenants to pay back rent to landlords and prohibits late fees on rent past due
  • If you are already working with a legal services provider, contact the staff member working with you. If you are a new client, contact one of the following:
    • Neighborhood Legal Services: (800) 433-6251
    • Public Counsel: (213) 385-2977 ext. 100
    • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles: (800) 399-4529
    • Bet Tzedek Legal Services: (323) 939-0506
  • If your eviction is at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, contact either Inner City Law Center at evictions@innercitylaw.org or the Shriver Project at ShriverSHpublic@nlsla.org

State Responses

  • In response to the health emergency, the State Legislature has postponed all legislative business until at least May 4th.
  • The legislature approved a $1.1 billion relief package, which is bringing $40 million in additional funding to the Los Angeles homeless system to respond to COVID 19 and bring more unsheltered Angelenos indoors. In addition, the Governor announced that they would send at least 600 trailers to Los Angeles to assist with sheltering people.
  • In addition to actions taken by the California Judicial Council, Governor Newsom also announced that cities must temporarily suspend evictions and lockouts related to non-payment of rent as a result of the health emergency, if those cities choose to. According to the Governor's order, tenant must declare to their landlord in writing within seven days of rent being due that they will be unable to pay rent on time and must maintain documentation of why they are unable to pay rent. This order does not prevent cities from enacting stronger eviction protections, but is a minimum protection for all cities.

Federal Responses

  • On March 27, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed into law a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, which includes resources for local homeless systems to respond to COVID-19, as well as resources for vulnerable households at risk of homelessness and housing instability due to COVID-19.
  • As part of the package, Congress has allocated $4 billion to the Emergency Solutions Grant program to go to local communities to respond to sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, with new funding allowing communities to add shelter beds, purchase needed supplies, and increase pay for front-line workers. Funding is being allocated in two tranches. An initial tranche of $1.04 billion will include $16 million for City of Los Angeles and $6 million for Los Angeles County. A second tranche of $2.96 billion is expected later in the spring—HUD is still making determinations for how that funding will be allocated.
  • In addition to homelessness response, the stimulus bill includes a $1,200 one-time payment to most Americans that earned up to $75,000 in either 2018 or 2019 and have a Social Security Number. For households with children that qualify, an additional $500 per child will be provided. We encourage you to review the following fact sheet for more information on who is eligible for these payments and how to redeem them.
  • The stimulus includes a significant boost in unemployment benefits for the millions of people who are being laid off as a result of the health crisis. Waiting periods are being eliminated, an additional $600 is being provided per week for four months, and unemployment has been extended to ensure laid-off workers can have pay for an additional 13 weeks.
  • Additionally, federal unemployment benefits are being extended to part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers. To learn more and file an unemployment claim, click here: https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/UI_Online_File_a_Claim.htm
  • Finally, the stimulus includes about $360 billion in grants and loans for small businesses, including non-profits, to sustain their businesses during the downturn, with loans that are forgivable for businesses that retain their employees.

If you have any questions, please reach out to LAHSA's Legislative Affairs Manager, Alex Visotzky, via email.

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