Pasadena looks set to end emergency eviction moratorium

Plan to end ban for both residential, commercial sectors comes with financial resources for landlords and tenants

 Mayor Victor Gordo (Getty, iStock)
Mayor Victor Gordo (Getty, iStock)

Pasadena might soon end a moratorium on tenant evictions for homes and businesses enacted at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pasadena City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris is drawing up an ordinance to end the COVID-19 eviction moratorium for commercial properties around the middle of May and for residential properties on June 30, the Pasadena Star-News reported.

If approved by the City Council, renters will have until Dec. 31 to pay any back rent owed to landlords. They then would owe rent for the month of January and be subject to eviction if the obligations are unpaid.

The eviction moratorium, passed on March 17, 2020, now prohibits landlords from evicting commercial and residential tenants for rent owed if the tenant can’t pay it because of financial impacts of COVID-19.

They also can’t proceed with a no-fault eviction unless it’s for health and safety reasons.

The Pasadena City Council voted 6-1 this week to end the emergency ordinances. Mayor Victor Gordo, a local landlord, recused himself prior to Monday’s discussion.

The neighboring cities of Burbank and Glendale ended their moratorium on September 30, 2021, to coincide with the state.

“They experienced, according to our conversations with those cities, only slight upticks in eviction cases.” said Jim Wong, a senior project manager with the city.

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Pasadena has received $21 million in emergency rental assistance during the pandemic, issued mostly to landlords, Wong said.

The city will have financial resources available to help tenants once the eviction moratorium is lifted. They include $300,000 for homeless prevention, $150,000 for Housing Rights Center services, and $3 million that would pay for back-rent and two years of rental assistance moving forward.

Despite the assistance, city leaders and residents expressed concern about whether or not to extend the eviction ban.

“Many landlords have not received rent for two years and have responsibilities like mortgages,” said Councilmember Gene Masuda, who later made the motion passed by Council. “The moratorium has caused financial and personal problems and frustrations.”

Proponents of the eviction ban argued there was no positive rationale provided in the agenda report for ending the moratorium.

“We’ve heard that tenants are still awaiting Housing is Key funds,” said Allison Henry, a resident. “There are also people behind on rent that didn’t apply for Housing is Key because they did not know or did not qualify for the program.”

[Pasadena Star-News] – Dana Bartholomew