The coronavirus has ratched up the landlord-tenant tension that has always existed. Now, the Los Angeles Police Department has quantified one aspect of that.
Emergency 911 calls involving landlord-tenant disputes in L.A. have shot up since April 1, the first day rent came due, at a time when most businesses are shuttered and the unemployment roll skyrockets.
Police recorded about 56 daily landlord-tenant disputes that came in to 911 in the first 10 days of April, more than twice the numbers for February — 19 — and March — 22‚— according to L.A. data analysis site Crosstown.
The 100 or so calls on April 1 were by far the highest number recorded in a single day all year, according to the report’s findings.
California remains under a statewide stay-at-home order, and L.A. also has an eviction moratorium. A few days before the April rent came due, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a suspension of evictions through May 31, unifying the policy across the state.
Tenants in the city only had to notify their landlords that they couldn’t pay rent within seven days of rent coming due, but in some cases, landlords were asking those tenants to sign restrictive repayment agreements.
Others told tenants they need a stack of paperwork proving they’re unable to pay rent, according to reports. Many said they weren’t sure what they could and couldn’t require of tenants.
As of April 9, landlords had collected around 10-12 percent less in rental income compared to before the pandemic. There is concern that May could be even worse and that landlords could begin defaulting on mortgages at a high rate.
Now, Mayor Eric Garcetti is seeking a federally-backed suspension of rents and mortgages in the city to stave off mass defaults and post-pandemic evictions. [Crosstown] — Dennis Lynch