This article was posted on Friday, Feb 17, 2023
new update

All 88 cities within L.A. County now fall under the L.A. County Eviction Moratorium. Please pay close attention to the new forms and the new requirements when serving eviction notices. 

Greater Los Angeles Update

With the expiration of the L.A. City Emergency Declaration at the end of last month, all 88 cities within L.A. County, including the City of L.A., now come under the jurisdiction of the L.A. County Eviction Moratorium. Therefore, everyone who owns property in the greater Los Angeles area needs to understand the county moratorium, otherwise known as “Tenant Protections”. 

Can I Evict Now?

It depends! According to the L.A. County “Tenant Protections” ordinance, you can evict for nonpayment of rent, starting with February’s rent. However, the tenant would be protected IF the tenant’s income is 80% of the area median income (AMI), AND they have a COVID hardship, AND they provided you with a notice within seven days from when rent was due. To determine the AMI for your tenant/tenants, please click on this link to be directed to the page on the L.A. Housing Department website that contains that information. 

One Twist for the City of L.A.

The City of L.A. falls under all of the same non-payment criteria as L.A. County. However, there is a new permanent “Tenant Protections” ordinance that will apply to all rental units in the City of L.A.; it was passed by the city council but is still pending final approval. Specifically, there will be a new “Minimum Unpaid Rent Threshold” which must be met before a Pay Rent or Quit notice can be served. This threshold is equivalent to one Month’s “Fair Market Rent” based on the number of bedrooms in the unit. Please visit the HUD website to find the not-so fair “Fair Market Rent” amounts for your specific unit. 

Two-Bedroom Example in the City of L.A.

For example, “Fair-Market Rent” for a two-bedroom apartment in L.A. is $2,222. If you only charge $2,100 for your two-bedroom apartment, then you would need to wait to serve that Pay Rent or Quit notice until they haven’t paid March’s rent. Once it passes, the number of bedrooms will be required on the notice to pay rent or quit, so please use the recently-updated AOA form (Form 103-LA). Additionally, you will also need to send a copy of your 3-day notice to the housing department. We have created a new form that acts as a cover sheet, and it includes the address which you will need to mail it to (AOA Form 114 LA). Again, this tenant protection has not gone into effect, but it will once Mayor Bass signs it. 

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What Else Can I Evict For in L.A. County? 

You can evict tenants who breach the rental agreement – with a few exceptions. Denying entry is only protected from eviction if a landlord abuses the right to access the unit. That protection expires at the end of March. Even today, if there are health and safety issues that necessitate repairs, and you give the required notices, denial of entry would be grounds for an eviction. 

What About Unauthorized Occupants and Pets?

According to the L.A. County Tenant Protections, you are able to evict for unauthorized tenants and pets; unless, there is a COVID-related reason that necessitates that lease violation. L.A. County protects tenants with a “COVID-related” reason to have unauthorized occupants/pets; however, this protection will expire at the end of March, 2023. Starting April 1st, a 30-Day Cure Covenant or Quit will be required for those notices served in L.A. County. 

Unlike L.A. County, unauthorized occupants and pets are protected from eviction in the City of Los Angeles through the end of January, 2024. Additionally, a new 30-Day Notice will be required at that time. 

What About Nuisance?

The answer is more yes than no. Nuisance evictions are protected until March 31st, 2023. Municipality-required notices will need to be served with the eviction notice, but the county has yet to specify those requirements. The only time that a nuisance eviction would be possible between now and March 31st, would be when it’s a clear threat to public health and safety. 

Removing Units From the Market

According to the L.A. County “Tenant Protections”, removing units from the market (Ellis Act) is permissible starting April 1st, 2023. 

Can I Raise the Rent Now?

The end of the eviction moratorium did not end the rent freeze for rent-controlled properties in Los Angeles City; the rent freeze is set to expire January 31st, 2024. However, properties not under rent control in Los Angeles City are able to raise the rent, when done in accordance with state and local laws. 

The majority of incorporated cities in L.A. County permit rent increases, but West Hollywood has a temporary rent freeze until the end of February. Yesterday, Maywood City Council also adopted a rent freeze ordinance that will last for 60 days, retroactive to February 6h. Unincorporated L.A. County also has a rent freeze for properties under county rent control (RSO) until April 1st, 2023. Please be sure to determine if you are in an incorporated city or an unincorporated area of L.A. county and which rules are related to your specific properties. 

Relocation Fees in L.A. City

On February 7th, L.A. City Council passed a motion to increase tenant protections. However, this is still awaiting approval from the mayor. Here’s how it would work. If rents are raised above 10%, tenants can opt for relocation fees instead of accepting the rent increase. Obviously, this does not apply to rent-controlled properties because anything over a 10% rent increase is prohibited by rent control. The relocation amount can be calculated by multiplying three times the “Fair Market Value” of a rental of similar size and then adding $1,411 for moving costs. However, if you own a single-family residence, or if it’s a building with four units or less, then the relocation amount is one month’s payment of the“Fair Market Rent” for a rental of similar size. 

We hesitate to even send this update knowing that some of the ordinances have yet to be finalized. Please register for the AOA Live Stream with Dennis Block, set for Thursday, February 23rd. This article is not comprehensive and is for informational purposes only. There are several eviction attorneys willing to help you. You can find them by visiting the AOA’s new Contractors and Vendors search engine. If you allow the search engine to know your location, it will populate results in geographical order in relation to your location. I would also like to invite you to join AOA’s Political Action Roundtable this Saturday. 

Best regards,

Jeff Faller, President

Apartment Owners Association of California, Inc.