LAW CORNER WITH JC 11 เมษายน 2563

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND RENT PROTECTION

Greetings everyone! I hope everyone is staying safe and abiding by the emergency orders put into place here in Los Angeles as a result of the virus pandemic we are currently facing. A lot of different orders have been issued in the last few weeks due to COVID-19, so I will do my best to present you with some of those that I believe will most benefit you and is related to the law. This week, I would like to discuss the current moratorium on rent payments and the rental freeze currently in place in the City of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Freeze on Rent Increases

As of a few days ago, the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, ordered a “rent freeze”. This order was issued on March 30, 2020 and is set to expire 60 days after expiration of the Local Emergency period.

What this “rent freeze” order means is that property owners cannot increase rents on currently occupied rental units. However, the order only applies to rental units that are subject to the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Therefore, if you are a tenant renting a single-family home or a condominium exempt from local rent control (i.e., units under the Costa-Hawkins or units built on or after October 2, 1978), this order does not protect you (SRC: The California Apartments Association). However, for renters subject to the rent freeze, you can rest assured that owners cannot raise your rent during this period.

Los Angeles Eviction Moratorium

For renters in the city of Los Angeles who cannot afford to pay rent because of economic hardship or because their health has been affected by COVID-19, there is in place, an ordinance protecting against evictions. This “moratorium on evictions”, which is effective now and terminates upon declaration by the Mayor, prohibits landlords from evicting tenants based on the following circumstances:

(1) Prohibition on No Fault Evictions – any eviction must be based on the fault of the tenant and for no other reason. This includes no evictions based on non-payment of rent based on COVID-19.

(2) Prohibition on Eviction for Certain Lease Violations – for example, if your lease prohibits you from having only 1 guest staying over, and you have your parents staying over because of COVID-19 concerns (which would typically violate the lease regarding number of occupants), the landlord cannot evict you because of this.

(3) Prohibition Against Late Fees and Charging Interest – Owners are prohibited from charging interest or a late fee on tenants who cannot pay rent based on COVID-19 during this emergency order period.

Does this mean tenants do not have to pay rent?

No, tenants during this period are still responsible for their rent obligations, but the obligation date of when this payment has to be paid is excused for a later date. Per the eviction moratorium, the tenant is allowed 12 months after the end of the Local Emergency period to pay the rent. Before the end of the emergency period or within 90 days of the first missed rent payment, the landlord and tenant may agree to a payment plan, which will be developed by the City.

Does the tenant have to notify the landlord about not being able to pay rent?

No. Under the ordinance, the tenant is not required to notify the landlord of their COVID-19 related inability to pay the rent. In addition, the tenant does not have to provide any documentation to the landlord either.

JC Closing: Okay, there you have it: This week’s information regarding COVID-19 and its effect on Landlord-Tenant law. Please be mindful of others and adhere to what the medical and scientific community has advised you to do. In time, things will return to normal. Until then, please be safe and stay healthy. I care about you!

If you have questions or comments related to this article, or if you have some other legal issue you would like me to assist you with, please contact my office at (818) 846-5639, or my Thai direct line at (818) 505-4921. Also, if you have any questions that you would like to be answered in future articles, please email me at: JC4LAW@HOTMAIL.COM. And if you have not done so, please be sure to visit my website at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM for general information regarding this and many other topics in Business, Property and Family Law.

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Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.