LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Despite pleas from frustrated landlords, the Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to extend the city's emergency declaration allowing its eviction moratorium to continue.
The council voted 11-1 to keep the declaration, with Council member John Lee the only holdout.
"Set a date, a date certain that they can look forward to and they can plan for in the future," Lee said referring to an end date for the moratorium at a news conference prior to the council meeting. "This eviction moratorium has got to end."
A large group of landlords described by Lee as "mom and pop property owners" took part in the event. It was originally scheduled to take place outside City Hall, but a demonstration by members of the social justice group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment spurred the landlords to bring their news conference inside.
AACE member Elizabeth Hernandez addressed the City Council, urging them to keep the pandemic protections in place.
"A lot of people still haven't been able to pay the rent and they're going to end up homeless," Hernandez told Eyewitness News.
But landlords are frustrated with the eviction moratorium, which has been in place for more than two years.
They want the City Council and the mayor to end the emergency declaration that prevents rent increases and allows many residents to live rent-free under pandemic protections.
"You can't walk into your neighborhood grocery store and say 'Because food is a necessity, I'm going to walk out without paying,'" said Cheryl Turner, board president of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, which represents landlords. "But we are being criticized for asserting our rights to collect our rent."
Landlords say they are just regular people caught in the middle, stuck footing a bill they cannot afford.
"I have two mortgages, two insurances, two HOAs, and repairs for two houses," explained one landlord. "There's no way that I can do it."