Garcetti seeks unprecedented suspension of rents, mortgages for LA residents

In his State of the City speech, the mayor said thousands of municipal employees will likely be furloughed because of the pandemic

Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti (Credit: Ole Jensen/Getty Images)
Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti (Credit: Ole Jensen/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to suspend rent and mortgage payments for Los Angeles residents, and wants federal funding to help do it.

Garcetti addressed the issue during his State of the City speech on Sunday, in which he outlined a bleak financial outlook, and detailed the city’s plan to weather the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Times. Some of the grim news included the city having to furlough thousands of workers, he said.

The two-term mayor said that in recent weeks he has pushed federal lawmakers to support both landlords and renters in a future stimulus package.

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“Let us guarantee that the loss of a job need not mean the loss of your home,” he said. “Let’s back with federal funds a suspension of rent and mortgages during this crisis. Let’s use a massive expansion of Section 8 to create the affordable and the social housing that will end our housing crisis for good.”

A wide suspension of rent and mortgage payments would be an unprecedented measure in response to the pandemic, and a significant move from policies adopted by the city, state, and county over the last month. Most renters in the L.A. area will have several months to a year to pay back rent missed during the pandemic.

L.A. County has taken perhaps the strongest measures. The County Board of Supervisors wants to provide residents who have lost their jobs up to $1,000 a month for three months to help pay rent, and has made it almost impossible to evict renters for failure to pay rent.

Garcetti added that thousands of municipal employees would be furloughed and city programs slashed in order to direct funds to “back to basic investments.” [LAT]Dennis Lynch