City Council Votes to End Pandemic Eviction Protections


Lucy Nicholson

Protesters of evictions at LA Superior Court

For the last nearly three years of the pandemic, there have been protections for renters impacted financially by COVID-19. These protections temporarily stopped landlords from evicting tenants who couldn’t keep up with rent during this time, with the promise to repay rent by future deadlines. Federal, state, and local governments were involved in this policy and paid the bills to the landlords. The goal was to keep people off of the streets, and it worked.

However, the government aid money did not cover all of the debts, and the landlords lost profits. One landlord, Wayne Harris, quoted in an LA Times article, reasoned that if the government wanted to enact a policy to waive rent for financially burdened people, it should also make sure that landlords get paid in whole.

The City Council has had to weigh both sides of this issue. Council President Nury Martinez stated, “We cannot let this burden fall on either side, whether it’s the tenets or the mom-and-pop landlords.” Martinez explained in the ABC article that the policy was initially put into place to avoid an influx of homelessness amidst the pandemic, but that now, it was time to “protect people’s housing and preserve their financial well-being.”

Though there is still much debate, the decision reached on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, was that landlords may resume raising the rent on previously rent-controlled apartments (starting in February 2023), and require tenants to meet re-payment deadlines that depend on when they started missing rent. For example, if people have missed rent since March 2020, they have until Aug. 1, 2023.

Landlord regulations are also expected to be more strict. While during the pandemic, housing an additional relative, roommate, and/or pet was okay, these actions can now get someone evicted.

Councilman Mike Bonin urges there to be “just cause rules” which would require good reason in order to evict tenants.

Several other council members are actively pushing for renter protection. Council members Nithya Raman and Kevin de Leon created a Tenants’ Bill of Rights and are tracking eviction data. Additionally, advocates of renter protections have been protesting against the overturning of this moratorium that they argue has prevented skyrocketing homelessness during this COVID-19 crisis. “The new protections that are being implemented in the coming months will help us build a better LA for all residents,” says Raman, as quoted in a CBS article.

Debates continue on the extent of protections, renters’ rights in court, rent control, and government assistance as policymakers attempt to appease unhappy people on all sides.