More County Tenant Protections: Unauthorized Occupants and Buyouts

County of Los Angeles Supervisors in early January adopted a resolution that provide tenants with new protections during the COVID pandemic emergency. In addition to limiting landlord access except in cases of emergency and protecting tenants from harassment, the Supervisors have expanded the county rental assistance program too. But there’s more: protection for unauthorized occupants and from pressure to accept a cash-for-keys buyout. Let’s take a look!

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LA County Protects Tenants from Non-Emergency Landlord Access

Los Angeles County enacted in early January a provision in its COVID emergency order to prohibit the landlord from accessing a rented dwelling except to perform emergency repairs or to prevent a tenant from damaging the premises. No other access is allowed under the revised order. For the duration of the emergency the county also identifies as harassment any landlord behavior intended to intimidate a tenant into granting access. Let’s take a closer look at this provision.

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Beverly Hills COVID-19 Rent Subsidy: What You Need to Know

Beverly Hills city council in September agreed to create a $1 million rent subsidy program to help COVID–19 affected tenants in the city pay the rent. The objective of the program is to provide a measure of stability to tenants in their moment of need. The program is also intended to benefit landlords by providing rental income that might otherwise be delayed due to COVID–19. But the devil is in the details. Here’s how it works.

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California Courts Again Are Open for Eviction Proceedings

Tenants who may have viewed the Superior Court’s pause on evictions as a backstop to our local eviction moratorium should know that eviction cases (and filings) will proceed as of September 1st. An amended rule by the court’s Judicial Council on August 13th imposes a sunset clause on its Emergency rule #1 promulgated in April to pause evictions. It may sound arcane but it augurs some pain for tenants who are at risk of displacement during the pandemic.

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Renters Alliance Position on Mandatory Rent Repayment Plans: A Bad Idea!

City council will discuss modifying the urgency ordinance to possibly implement something like a mandatory rent-repayment plan for tenants who seek forbearance of rent due to COVID-19 emergency measures. No other major California city imposes the requirement as a condition for assistance because it means committing the tenant to an additional monthly financial obligation (on top of the regular rent) at a time when economic uncertainty is at its highest. Here are the points I made to city council.

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City Council Tweaks the COVID-19 Emergency Regulations

Beverly Hills city council adopted a new urgency ordinance at the April 21st meeting making several changes to several emergency measures related to COVID–19. The amendments are part of council’s continuing refinement to the city’s response (to which we gave an A grade). Here we review those changes with specific focus on measures that affect tenants.

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Property Maintenance in the Era of COVID: Cleanliness Matters!

Residential rental dwellings must be fit for human habitation and free from ‘dilapidations,’ says California Civil Code section 1941. In part that means “all areas under control of the landlord, kept in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.” Not a high bar! But not all landlords live up to that standard and during the COVID-19 pandemic we may see some landlords shirk their responsibility.

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Tenant Advocates Spring Into Action with a Call for Rent Relief

Renters Alliance sees the COVID-19 relief promised to taxpayers and businesses as wanting. Taxpayers get a one-time payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child and some who need it won’t even get it. But businesses (including apartment landlords) already get plenty of tax breaks and now they’ll get more while small landlords lose out. If tenants and landlords can agree on one thing it is that providing relief to tenants will provide relief to landlords too.

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CARES Act: An Emergency Assist From Congress for Some Landlords

Congress in March passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) which extended unemployment benefits for laid-off workers and granted a ‘recovery rebate’ of $1,200 to qualified taxpayers. But there was A LOT more in that federal bag o’ treats, and many — but not all — multifamily housing owners in Beverly Hills may benefit. Let’s take a look at Washington’s largess and the multifamily housing industry’s opportunities for relief under the CARES Act of 2020.

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Moratorium on No-Fault Eviction: What It Means

The revised emergency measures related to COVID–19 adopted by Beverly Hills is notable for the moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent and the moratorium on rent increases. But as important is a moratorium on no-fault eviction. State law allows for terminating a tenancy for reasons where the tenant is not at fault and localities are preempted from stepping in with more restrictive regulation. But that’s gone out the window during this emergency. Here is what you need to know about no-fault eviction.

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Beverly Hills Earns an ‘A’ Grade in This Coronavirus Crisis

Coronavirus has challenged local governments in a way that no public health emergency has before. We see a cascade of executive orders and urgency ordinances that have shuttered businesses, prohibited gatherings and tried to cushion the impact of an economic shutdown in response to this insidious threat. The most surprising: a sweeping embrace of the eviction moratorium. Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch has ensured that our city was among the earliest in the Southland to step up with one. He deserves an ‘A’ grade in a crisis.

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