LA County’s eviction moratorium, started March 2020, and is set to expire on March 31, 2023. It was previously set to expire January 1st, 2023, and the County Board of Supervisors extended it yet again to the end of March. The County sets out a set of complicated rules that affects almost all residential and commercial tenants in LA County, under the COVID-19 emergency powers. COVID-19 related disputes and eviction moratorium protections is a major part of our practice. We help both landlords and tenants understand and enforce these protections.
Updated: 01/26/2023 at 1:37 PM
Quick Questions and Answers – Eviction Moratorium
The LA County moratorium is set to expire on March 31st, 2023. Tenants who can’t pay the rent after April 1st, 2023 will face eviction.
There is no way of knowing. Before the current extension, the board of supervisors was committed to let the moratorium expire. It then reversed course and extended renter protections 2 more months until March 31, 2023.
Yes. Commercial tenants will no longer be protected under the County eviction moratorium after February 1st, 2022. This means that if any commercial tenant fails to pay rent due February 1st or after – they can be evicted. Note, City of Los Angeles has a separate moratorium protecting Commercial Tenants.
Eviction moratorium will still protect LA County residents who are making 80% or less of AMI (Area Median Income). Those who earn more, are not protected and must pay the rent starting June 1st, 2022.
Commercial tenants in LA County will no longer be protected from eviction after February 1st, 2022. Residential tenants will have to provide the landlord a self-certification letter that they have a COVID-19 hardship. The eviction protection is not automatic, it must be invoked by the tenant.
Most protections for tenants will expire March 31, 2023 (like protections against owner’s move ins, no fault evictions, eviction due to nuisance, and unauthorize pets).
If the tenant complied with the reporting requirement during the protected period, they cannot be evicted for unpaid amounts before April 1st, 2023. Tenants have a set time to repay the amounts owe during covid.
No. All unpaid rent must be paid back to the property owner. Nothing in the resolution by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors allow any rent forgiveness – for commercial or residential tenants.
For commercial tenants with over 9 employees, all rent owed is due to the landlord by August 1st, 2022. Tenants with 9 employees or less have until February 1st, 2023.
Residential tenants – The unpaid rent will have to be paid 12 months from the expiration of the moratorium.
Yes. Landlords can take tenants to court for amounts owed during the pandemic and get a judgement. This can be done right now, as long as the lawsuit is just for rent owed, not possession. In some cases, landlords can file a claim in small claims for unpaid rent with no caps on damages.
The LA City moratorium is set to expire on January 31, 2023. However, the city passed extensive and permanent renter protections that can be found here. The County’s moratorium covers city of Los Angeles and therefore Los Angeles residents are covered under the County’s mortarium until March 31, 2023.
Explaining the LA County COVID-19 Tenant Protection Resolution
The eviction moratorium in LA County went into effect March 4, 2020, to protect tenants (residential and commercial) who could not pay the rent due to financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution was extended multiple times, most recently in January 2023, and will last until March 31, 2023. During the first few months of 2020, no evictions were allowed to be filed in LA Courthouses. More recently, tenants have the ability to block evictions via an affirmative defense if they are facing a financial hardship due to COVID-19.
While the initial rules were fairly simple and easy to understand, more recent resolutions are much more complex. It is important for both landlords and tenants to understand the implications of multiple emergency power (state, federal, city and county) and how to navigate the quickly changing legal landscape to maximize value and avoid costly mistakes.
Per a vote by the LA County Board of Supervisors – the current protections will expire on 03/31/23. That means that tenants who cannot pay April 2023 rent can be evicted even if they have a COVID-19 hardship.
Anti-harassment protections for tenant will continue to remain after 12/31/22. Some no-fault eviction protection also remains past the expiration date.
Rent collection for unpaid amount during the moratorium is still not grounds for eviction, even after the moratorium expires. The repayment period is 12 months after the last unpaid rent amount during the protection period.
Who is Covered by the Eviction Moratorium?
For residential tenants, tenants who earn less than 80% of median income are covered until March 31, 2023. That includes tenants in single family homes, renters in mobile homes, and condos. The resolution covers all unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County, and all cities in the county with eviction rules with less strict or similar rules to the county’s framework.
What is the Current Expiration Date of the LA County Moratorium?
The current expiration date for LA County’s eviction mortarium for non payment of rent is set to expire March 31, 2023.
How Many More Times will the Moratorium will be Extended?
We have no way of knowing that. Before the current extension (3/31/2023), the board of supervisors was committed to ending the moratorium on January 31, 2023. It then reversed course and chose to extend it further despite heavy resistant from local landlords.
What is Allowed and what is Not Allowed under the Resolution’s Phase I?
For commercial tenants:
- After February 1st, 2022 – there is no protection from eviction for commercial tenants of any size.
- Some protections will stay even after February 1st, such as harassment protection and prohibition on enforcing personal guarantees on the lease.
- Unpaid before February 1, 2022 must be paid within 6 months for tenants with more than 9 employees, and 12 months for 9 employees or less.
For Residential Tenants:
- Tenants who are affected by COVID-19 are protected from eviction as a result of non payment of rent through May 31, 2022.
- Landlords also cannot increase rents for rent controlled units in unincorporated areas of LA County.
- Landlords are not allowed to evict tenants for:
- No-fault evictions
- Unauthorized pets
- Unauthorized occupants
- Denial of entry to the unit
- Tenants are also protected from retaliation and harassment from invoking the protections under the resolution.
What happens in Phase II? (June 1st – March 31st, 2023)
For commercial tenants, nothing changes.
For residential tenants:
- Tenants who make less than 80% of median household income are still protected by the eviction moratorium if they self certify a COVID-19 hardship.
- Residential tenants making more than 80% of MAI can now get evicted for non-payment of rent.
- All protections mentioned above (rent freeze, no fault eviction, pets, etc…) remain for all residential tenants.
- What expires – protection against eviction for denying landlord entry, and allows evictions due to some owner move-ins.
When Should Tenants Pay Rent?
As soon as possible. There is no language, in any city, county, state, or emergency power that provides rent forgiveness to tenants. There are some city programs that pay missing rent for tenants by filling up hardship applications. But if you owe rent – you have to pay it back. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to come up with a payment plan to facilitate a payback. If you are not sure how to engage your landlord, you can hire an attorney to help you.
For example – some tenants successfully paid less than what they owed to the landlord by offering to pay the owed amount right away at a discount.
How Can Landlords Collect Rent from Non-Paying Tenants?
This is a question asked by many clients who come to our firm. The answer is always complicated, since the county recently extended the moratorium through March 31, 2023 and provide 12 months for residential tenants to pay back the rent. Collecting rent from non-paying rent is always going to be a challenge.
Starting November 2021, landlords are allowed to bring a lawsuit for damages for unpaid rent during the pandemic. In some cases, the lawsuit can be heard in small claims with no caps on damages. This means that landlords can get a judgement against a tenant in a couple of months due to the fast proceedings in small claims. With a judgement against the tenant, landlords can garnish wages, levy bank accounts, and seize assets.
It is recommended that you hire an experienced attorney to assist you in understanding the County’s rules in collecting rent and evicting tenants. Failure to follow the rules can result in harassment lawsuits and severe fines against property owners.
Can Tenants Still Get Evicted for Other Reasons?
Yes. Residential tenants can still get evicted breaking the lease – such as using the premises for an illegal activity. Eviction moratorium is not a blanket ban on all evictions. Tenants who do not declare a COVID-19 hardship and don’t pay rent run the risk of eviction.
Starting June 1, 2022 – illegally denying entry to the landlord in Los Angeles County is valid grounds for eviction.
Is the Pandemic Moratorium Apply to Tenant who Came in During COVID-19?
Yes. It may seem unfair, but there is nothing in the rules that exempts tenants who came in knowing the pandemic risks. It is important to hedge your risk during the application period with new tenants in order to mitigate that risk.
If you are considering a real estate purchase with renters during the pandemic, it is important to underwrite the current laws into your pro-forma.
Can Landlords Charge Tenants Late Fees for Unpaid Rent During the Pandemic?
No. Tenants who invoke COVID-19 financial hardship during the protected period cannot be charged late fees for unpaid rent. If you are a landlord, and try to include late fees in either your 3-day notice to pay or quit, or in your complaint for unlawful detainer – and those late fees were as a result of a COVID-19 hardship, you run the risk of losing your case. Note that after February 1st, 2022 – commercial tenants are no longer protected under County protection for eviction, so landlords can apply late fees and eviction for late-paying tenants.
How is LA County protections different than City of Los Angeles protections?
The County’s eviction mortarium covers the City of Los Angeles residents, and is set to expire on March 31, 2023. The City of Los Angeles had previously a separate and different eviction mortarium but it is set to expire on January 31, 2023.
The Los Angeles City Council voted to enact permanent renter protections that effectively imposed ‘soft’ rent-control measures on ALL city rentals, including single family homes, condos, and new apartments. We wrote on the new protections in our blog.
September 2022 Update
- City of Los Angeles – LA City Council voted on August 26 to extend the emergency orders by at least 1 more month, through September 2022. A report prepared by LA Housing Dept. on August 25 recommended an end to the emergency powers by the end of the year, and allow landlords to raise rents in the city.
- City of Santa Monica – SM City Council voted 5-2 on August 23 to protect tenants who cannot pay rent due to a 3% rent increase, and extend eviction protections for tenants due to COVID-19 until January 31, 2023. In November, the city will vote on a ballot measure to cap rent increases in rent-controlled units at 3% per year.
October 2022 Update
- LA County Update – the Board of Supervisors voted to officially end the eviction moratorium on December 31, 2022. Renters not paying January 2023 rent and onwards could face eviction. Other protections for no-fault evictions, nuisance, and unauthorized occupants are also expiring.
- City of Los Angeles Update – LA City Counsel voted to end the protections starting February 1, 2023. Landlords can also start raising rent starting on the same date.
- Santa Monica Update – Santa Monica, like other cities in LA County, adopted the Count’s renter protections. Eviction mortarium in SM sets to expire December 31, 2022. There are some exceptions of rent control units. The city council also approved a 6% rent increase for rent controlled units.
December 2022 Update
- City of Los Angeles – City Council voted 12-0 to end eviction moratorium on January 31, 2023.
- Los Angeles County – the Board of Supervisors voted to extend the County Moratorium until January 31, 2023.
Hire the Right Law Firm to Maximize your Position – Sinai Law
Our firm represents both landlords and tenants on all matters related to the COVID-19 eviction moratorium. When interpreting the rules that the County just implemented, you need an aggressive and experienced attorney to inform you of how the ordinance impacts your unique situation and how to best approach your legal needs.
We helped hundreds of clients in during COVID-19 recover lost rent, restore possession, and negotiate rent buyouts.
For Residential Tenants
LA County has implemented important rights for residential tenants, and it is crucial that you hire the right legal counsel to understand how to protect your home. This is especially true for tenants under rent control who are paying less than market rate. Evictions still occur during the eviction moratorium – only the right legal help can help you avoid that. We help all residential tenants who fell behind as a result of a COVID-19 hardship.
For Commercial Tenants
Understanding the new regulations and protections provided to commercial tenants in LA County is crucial before approaching your landlord to negotiate a buyout, asking for rent reduction, or a payment plan for missed rent during COVID.
It is more likely than not that the property owner has a lawyer advising them. You should too, and we can help. We represent tenants in eviction protection, lease buyouts, rent reduction, and lease restructuring.
For Property Owners
The eviction moratorium the County enacted to stop removal of non-paying tenants has disrupted the plans of countless landlords in Los Angeles. Eviction is often the only tool of leverage a landlord has to force rent payment out of a tenant, and restore possession in order to find the next tenant as soon as possible. The County has removed this tool and now landlords must get creative in restoring back rent and possession.
Even with little leverage, our office was able to restore possession, recover back rent from non-paying tenants, and successfully enforce landlord rights even during COVID-19. Having a non-paying tenant could be a major roadblock if you want to sell or refinance your property. We offer creative solutions to enforce the existing lease and provide value for our clients, often within the first 48 hours. For immediate consultation you can reach us via the contact page to schedule your appointment.