RSO Commission to Discuss Modifications to COVID Emergency Order

The Beverly Hills Rent Stabilization Commission has been busy since it was reconstituted in August with new tenant representatives. The commission first recommended bringing to an end the city’s moratorium on eviction for nonpayment. Then it took tentative steps toward allowing a double rent increase while trying to cushion the impact on tenants. Now at the upcoming September 1st meeting the commissioners will decide whether to end or amend the other emergency tenant protections: the moratoriums on rent increases and no-fault evictions. Is it time for those protections to end?

Background: Why is the Commission Talking About Ending the Moratorium?

The tenant protections were enacted under the coronavirus local emergency last year. The moratorium on eviction for nonpayment was codified in COVID–19 urgency ordinance 20-O-2805 in mid-March. Two weeks later City Council enacted a moratorium on no-fault eviction and a moratorium on rent increases through Moratorium urgency ordinance 20-O-2806 signed 2020-3-31. Since that latter ordinance City Council has not enacted any new tenant protection.

Once the pandemic appeared to be receding, and after the county and state moved to step back from pandemic-era precautions, City Council contemplated steps to reopen the local economy. On July 15th councilmembers discussed whether or not to end the local emergency declaration. But the progress of the delta variant complicated matters: the state reimposed pandemic precautions even as council was discussing the matter. The question was effectively mooted and council took no action.

Councilmembers did, however, choose to delegate to the Rent Stabilization Commission the question of whether to end or amend the residential aspects of the local emergency, and the moratoriums on no-fault eviction and rent increases, with a subsequent recommendation going to city council.

Commission Recommends to End the Nonpayment Eviction Moratorium

At the August 4th meeting, Rent Stabilization commissioners came to agreement that tenant protection related to eviction for nonpayment could end coincident with the expiration of the state eviction moratorium on September 30th (unless extended by Sacramento). That would align our local moratorium on eviction for nonpayment with the state’s moratorium. For more on the commission’s recommendation to end the moratorium on eviction for nonpayment please read our meeting recap: RSO Commission Recommends Moratorium on Eviction for Nonpayment to End.

We now look ahead to the September meeting. We can anticipate what commissioners might do with regard to the moratoriums on rent increases and no-fault evictions by looking at what they said in August and we posted about our expectations: Next Up for Rent Stabilization Commission: Moratoriums on Rent Increase and No-Fault Eviction.

What’s Next?

Commissioners will discuss whether to end or amend tenant protections enacted under the local emergency on September 1st. What’s at stake? The September 1st staff report report boils down the commission’s options to three:

  1. Recommend that the City Council not make any further modifications to the Urgency Ordinance.
  2. Recommend that the City Council make modifications to the Urgency Ordinance to end the moratoriums on no fault evictions and rent increases prior to end of the local emergency.
  3. Recommend that the City council make modifications to the Urgency Ordinance to provide new or expanded protections for residential tenants.

Judging by the commissioners’ statements at the last meeting we can expect the commission to recommend that City Council allow rent increases to resume — and perhaps a doubled rent increase — and also to recommend that the moratorium on no-fault evictions end forthwith.

You can have a say. The commission welcomes public input. Please reach the commission by email prior to this item (item #1 on the agenda) being heard near the top of the meeting on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at 6 pm. Also you can email a comment to the commission to be read at the meeting by sending it to commentRSC@beverlyhills.org. (Note agenda item #1 in the subject line.) Alternately you can talk directly to the commissioners as the discussion begins: call 310–285–1020 and choose the comment option. Watch the meeting live on Channel 10 (BHTV) or watch it live online.

Do you have a concern about either of these moratorium provisions? Please get in touch with Renters Alliance!