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Belmont Avenue Apartments in Echo Park
Updated May 8, 2020

Normally an L.A. landlord could seek to evict a tenant for failing to pay the rent -- even if the renter had lost a job.

But that has now changed. Temporary, local emergency orders and eviction moratoriums have been issued in recent weeks that are intended to prevent tenants from losing their homes as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and its economic fallout.

Generally, a tenant cannot be evicted for non payment of rent during the moratorium if the reason is related to COVID19. And, tenants can now sue their landlords for failing to follow the moratorium guidelines.

But the prohibition on evictions applies only in certain circumstances. You can still face eviction for other reasons not related to coronavirus, like subletting your unit without permission or other violations of your lease.

And tenants may need to prove they are financially unable to pay the rent because of COVID-19 and must eventually pay all the rent that went unpaid during the moratorium.

You should also be aware that there is still some fuzziness about how the moratorium will work. Could a tenant refuse to pay rent and avoid eviction if he or she only lost a few hours of work? We couldn't find an answer. And, keep in mind the eviction moratorium is still subject to change at anytime. 

With those caveats in mind, here are the are main points about the eviction moratorium (complete details here) and a change in rent control law that applies to the City of Los Angeles. Unincorporated East Los Angeles falls under the L.A. County eviction moratorium.

How long does the moratorium last?

The eviction protections apply to tenants who notified their landlord on or after March 4 that rent will not be paid when due. The moratorium will end when the mayor declares an end to the current state of emergency. 

Notify your landlord

You need tell your landlord that you won't be paying the rent at least 7 days before its due date. If you receive a "Notice to Pay Rent or Quit," you must inform the landlord that you can't pay because of COVID-19 before that notice expires.

You can't be evicted for failing to pay the rent if ...

Your workplace closes or cuts back your hours because of COVID-19, leaving you without enough income to pay your rent

You lost income because you need to take care of a child or spend more on child care because of coronavirus school closures

You need to pay medical bills and health care costs to treat a COVID-19 infection for yourself or a member of your household.

You need to make "reasonable"expenditures" stemming from government ordered emergency measures.

• You can't be evicted for having an additional tenant or pet because of COVID-19 or a nuisance related to the disease. 

• Your landlord wants to remove the property from the rental market under the Ellis Act.

• Your landlord wants to evict you to live in your unit, move in a property manager or other reasons that are not the fault of the tenant.

 Refer to the moratorium rules for the City of L.A. and East L.A. for other reasons to avoid evictions for not paying rent. 

Prove It

In some cases, you may need to provide documents that show you are not financially able to pay the rent because of coronavirus if your eviction goes to court. This includes a letter from your employer citing COVID-19, paycheck stubs, bank statements, doctor’s note, school notifications, etc.

You will need to eventually pay the rent

Once the local emergency is declared over, tenants will have up to 12 months to pay the rent that went unpaid during the moratorium (East L.A. tenants have up to six months). Your landlord can't charge you interest or late fees on the rent that was due during the moratorium.

Rents are frozen

Landlords of apartments regulated by the city's rent control and stabilization laws can't raise the rent until after the local state of emergency is lifted.

Need Help?

City of Los Angeles

Tenants and landlords can call the Housing & Community Investment Department hotline at 1-866-557-7368 weekdays from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm and on weekends from 10 am to 3 pm. Or submit questions online.

Tenants with complaints can call the hotline or submit the complaint online.

East Los Angeles (unincorporated L.A. County)

Tenants and landlords can find more information by contacting the L.A. County Department of Consumer & Business Affairs.

(833) 223-7368

 Direct messaging: @LACountyDCBA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

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