Los Angeles Updates Its Eviction MoratoriumMay 13, 2020 – Client Alert
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state, local and federal governments have swiftly enacted eviction moratoria aimed at protecting both residential and commercial tenants. While the specifics vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and are constantly evolving, the protections are generally tied to a tenant’s inability to pay rent as a result of the effects of COVID-19.
Following a unanimous vote on May 6, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Ordinance No. 186606 (the “Ordinance”), which updates the existing ordinance affecting tenants in the City of Los Angeles. The Ordinance modifies the existing protections with respect to the moratorium on commercial evictions, and more specifically provides that:
- Except for tenants that are multi-national companies, publicly traded companies, or companies that employ more than 500 employees, commercial tenants cannot be evicted until three (3) months following the Local Emergency Period, if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to the financial impacts of COVID-19.
- Eligible circumstances include: (a) loss of business due to COVID-19 workplace closures, (b) child care expenditures due to school closures, (c) health care expenses as a result of a COVID-19 sickness or the tenant caring for a family member that is sick with COVID-19 or (d) other reasonable expenditures that are a result of the government-ordered emergency measures.
- Landlords may not “endeavor to evict” tenants during the Local Emergency Period for circumstances due to COVID-19. The term “endeavor to evict” is defined in the Ordinance as any “conduct where the Owner lacks a good faith basis to believe that the tenant does not enjoy the benefits of this article [of the Ordinance] and the Owner serves or provides in any way to the tenant: a notice to pay or quit, a notice to perform covenant or quit, a notice of termination, or any other eviction notice.”
- Commercial tenants have three (3) months after the expiration of the Local Emergency Period to pay back deferred rent.
- Landlords cannot charge interest or late fees on unpaid rent during the Local Emergency Period.
The Local Emergency Period is retroactive starting March 4, 2020, and goes through the date when Mayor Garcetti deems the local emergency over.
In addition to the Ordinance’s prohibition on evictions related to the impacts of COVID-19, California’s Judicial Council (the rule-making body for state courts) has implemented emergency rules suspending the issuance of summons and entering default judgments in eviction proceedings. As a result of these rules, eviction proceedings are effectively not moving forward in state courts.
Note that the rules affecting landlord-tenant relations are subject to further updates and vary by jurisdiction. As such, please reach out to the attorneys at Greenberg Glusker if you have any questions or require assistance with respect to either residential or commercial moratoriums that may affect your property.