LA tenants approved for assistance spared eviction until help arrives

Thousands of Los Angeles tenants who haven’t paid their rent won’t face eviction before they’ve received their approved government assistance checks.

The City Council has voted to prohibit the eviction of tenants who were approved for monetary rental assistance but haven’t received it, Bisnow reported.

The decision could impact landlords and 3,200 tenant applicants approved for assistance, most of whom have yet to receive their funds. Only a quarter of the city’s $30.4 million set aside for rental assistance has been handed out.

More than 25,000 tenants have applied for help, but still await word as to whether they’ll receive as much as six months’ back rent from the United to House LA Emergency Renters Assistance Program, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

The temporary eviction ban comes ahead of the Feb. 1 deadline to pay rent accrued from Oct. 1, 2021, to Jan. 31, 2023. The deadline was part of a Los Angeles plan early last year to expand renter protections before the end of pandemic eviction moratorium.

The new plan blocked evictions until Feb. 1 for tenants who have unauthorized pets, or who added residents who aren’t listed on leases. It also creates a new timeline for paying rent owed from the emergency period. 

The council’s decision represents a successful push from property owner groups to amend the eviction prohibition for tenants seeking help with their rent.

The motion, as originally written, would have protected all applicants to the program — not just the ones whose applications were approved, according to the Times.

But once an application is approved, Bisnow reported, the renter who filed it will be protected from eviction for 120 days after Feb. 1 to allow for the rental assistance funds to be paid out.

The Los Angeles Housing Department reported eviction notices for 71,429 households from February to November, according to Controller Kenneth Mejia. Of those, 96 percent were for nonpayment of rent. Some 43,000 of those cases went to court, according to the Times.

Those numbers are lower than some renter advocates expected. The difference in numbers may be explained by landlords who offer tenants money to move out instead of eviction, or landlords who forgive some rent and make arrangements for tenants to stay, experts told the newspaper.

— Dana Bartholomew

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