Following the Los Angeles City Council 11-1 vote on Wednesday extending the eviction moratorium yet again despite the pandemic-instituted protection being virtually erased from most other places in state.
Los Angeles has had eviction moratoriums in place since the Spring of 2020. Originally enacted as a measure to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by helping keep people in their apartments and homes, the moratorium has been increasingly decried by landlords and residents alike for placing the burden of safety measures solely on the landlords. Despite COVID-19 case levels tapering off and far less dangerous forms of COVID-19 mutating, the LA City Council has continually approved new extensions in the past two years, with courts agreeing that the moratoriums should be kept in place due to the public health crisis.
Landlords, particularly smaller landlords with only one or two properties, have been hit hard the most, with the moratorium causing not only their finances to be be depleted, but also helping to contribute to the affordable housing crisis.
“A lot of ‘mom and pop’ style landlords had to sell because of the moratorium,” stressed Michael Yuan, a landlord in Los Angeles, to the Globe on Friday. “And guess who they have been going to? More private owners or these equity firms. And since we’re usually cheaper, they jacked up the rents as soon as they bought the places as much as they could and found inventive ways to get rid of tenants legally that we don’t usually have the resources for.”
“So congrats LA City Council. You’re making the situation here worse by ignoring the needs of the smaller landlords still offering competitive rent prices and making rents, especially in gentrifying areas, much more unaffordable. And you’re still making people homeless out of all of this.”
On Wednesday, a social justice group, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), protested outside the City Council meeting, pushing for them to continue the moratorium due to both the continuing dangers of COVID-19 and how a large-scale eviction would make many homeless.
AACE member Elizabeth Hernandez addressed the City Council, urging them to keep the pandemic protections in place.
“A lot of people still haven’t been able to pay the rent and they’re going to end up homeless,” AACE member Elizabeth Hernandez said.
Eviction moratorium extended
However, landlords continued to push for the need to collect rent, as missing rents have added to enormous financial burdens they have had to bear for over two years. Many expressed how tired they are as being characterized as ‘greedy’ or other monikers, as they are simply getting money for housing they own and rent to them and how in any other bill or payment it would not be tolerated.
“You can’t walk into your neighborhood grocery store and say ‘Because food is a necessity, I’m going to walk out without paying,’” noted Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles President Cheryl Turner. “But we are being criticized for asserting our rights to collect our rent.”
Yuan added that “For many of us, collecting rent is our retirement income. This is our 401k. Many landlords are on disability, and for them, running rental units is a job they can manage. By continuing to say that eviction isn’t an option for most cases, you’re eating into people’s livelihoods. You’re hurting the elderly, the disabled, and many others. You have to be a sociopath to not see how this has been hurting us.”
Out of the 12 City Council members who voted on Wednesday, only one, John Lee, voted against keeping the moratorium in place, criticizing it for not even having so much as an end date.
“Set a date, a date certain that they can look forward to and they can plan for in the future,” said Lee on Wednesday. “This eviction moratorium has got to end.”
Another vote on extending the moratorium is due later this year.