The Los Angeles City Council saw its first real split over rent-related policies during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Council voted 7-6 against a motion to broaden the city’s eviction protections, according to the Los Angeles Times. Had it passed, landlords would have been allowed to evict tenants “to protect the health and safety of other occupants of the property.”
Currently, landlords in the city cannot evict tenants who can’t pay rent because of a loss of income tied to the pandemic. Tenants have 12 months to pay any missed rent. Critics argue the policy isn’t clear enough and that it gives tenants the impression they have more protections in place than they really do.
The motion’s authors, councilmembers Mike Bonin and David Ryu, said the current protections are confusing for renters and don’t do enough to discourage landlords from initiating the eviction process.
“I think it’s false hope to say we have an eviction moratorium that really isn’t one,” Bonin said, according to the report.
For unincorporated parts of L.A. County, tenants now only have to tell their landlords in writing that they can’t make rent within seven days of rent coming due to prevent an eviction, under a measure passed last week. The county has adopted a slew of tenant protections in the last month.
The City Council also rejected a motion from Bonin and Ryu to halt rent increases across the city. L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer said the measure wouldn’t hold up unless the statewide Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act was suspended.
The Council did pass a resolution supporting state and federal rent and mortgage relief measures, essentially allowing people to forego payments until the crisis ended. And it supported a measure by Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that calls for a suspension of rent and mortgage obligations across the country through the end of the pandemic.