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California Rent Relief Due To Coronavirus

Updated: Aug 27

Los Angeles Rent Moratorium - Rent Suspension


Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an emergency order to bolster the City’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), placing restrictions on different establishments including restaurants, bars, and other popular places in the City of Los Angeles.


The order includes a temporary shutdown of bars and nightclubs that do not serve food, movie theaters, entertainment venues, bowling alleys, arcades, and gyms. Restaurants and bars are not allowed to serve food for consumption on their premises but may offer food for delivery, takeout, or drive-thru. Mayor Garcetti also urged places of worship to limit gatherings and observe social distancing practices to help curve the transmission of COVID-19.


The restrictions will be in effect in the City of Los Angeles through noon on March 31, 2020 with the possibility of being extended to a later date depending on the assessment of health officials.

The following establishments within the City of Los Angeles will be temporarily closed to the public:


  • Bars and nightclubs that do not serve food;

  • Movie theaters and entertainment venues;

  • Bowling alleys and arcades; and

  • Gyms and fitness centers.


The following restrictions will also apply:


  • All restaurants will be prohibited from serving food to dine-in customers, but may continue to prepare and offer food via delivery service or take-out;

  • Houses of worship are strongly advised to limit gatherings and events on their premises and to explore alternate ways to practice their respective faiths while observing social distancing practices.


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The following establishments will continue to operate:


  • Grocery stores and supermarkets will continue to operate as usual.

  • Cafeterias within hospitals, nursing homes, and similar facilities will also continue operations.


Mayor Garcetti also ordered a moratorium on evictions of residential tenants amid the coronavirus pandemic during this local emergency period if the tenant is able to show an inability to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


As California responds to the coronavirus outbreak, moratoriums on evicting renters take hold in different cities and counties as means to curb the infection of the novel virus and mitigate the social and financial crisis caused by it.


The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) estimates that 43 million households or 109 million people in the U.S. are renters. According to the Eviction Lab, a Princeton-based endeavor led by sociologist Matthew Desmond, evictions occurred at an estimated rate of four every minute in 2016.


Displacing renters amid the coronavirus outbreak, which led President Trump to declare a national emergency this week, could intensify the spread of the disease.



No evictions for those who can prove adverse impact by COVID-19


In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed issued a city-wide #moratorium on evictions last Friday. The executive order, which will initially last for a month, will shield residents from losing their homes due to financial hardship related to business closures, layoffs, working hours cuts or medical expenses incurred because of #COVID19.


“This moratorium will help people stay stable if they lose income because they get sick, a family member gets sick, or their job is impacted by the economic damage the coronavirus is causing,” Breed said in a press release.

Under Breed’s order, tenants struggling to meet their monetary lease obligations because of “a COVID-19 related impact” must notify their landlords and substantiate their inability to pay rent with documentation. After the emergency declaration is lifted, tenants will have up to six months to catch up on any back-due rent.


Rent help instead of eviction halt


Breed’s directive resembles the ban on evictions passed by city lawmakers in San Jose, California, earlier last week. There, rental property owners, who face penalties and fees if they do not abide by the moratorium, protested the measure.


Addressing the shortcomings that landlords could potentially experience because of eviction prohibitions, the NMHC is considering federal short-term financial assistance to renters, instead.


Short-term financial assistance would help poor families in Los Angeles county continue paying rent and buying food until the broader economy stabilizes. It would be more effective than a temporary moratorium on evictions (as some jurisdictions have enacted), since landlords also need money to pay their mortgages, property taxes, and utilities.


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter, “As we work to contain the spread of coronavirus, we must ensure people aren’t being evicted from their homes. I strongly support the proposal for a temporary moratorium and will work with the City Council to get it passed as quickly as possible.”


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