LA County extends limited eviction protections as statewide moratorium set to expire this week

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Since the start of the pandemic, many renters who couldn't afford to pay their rent have been allowed to stay in their homes or apartments thanks to an eviction moratorium.

But, landlords are also taking a hit and some say the system isn't fair.

Ky Trang Ho owns a duplex and says she is paying the mortgage and utilities but has no income.

"That's setting me back about $3000 a month and I don't know if I can hold out much longer," said Trang Ho, who adds that her tenants have refused to pay rent using the moratorium as their reason.

"They have stopped paying rent over the course of the past year and they have jobs or just decided not to work," she said.

This comes as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors debated what do about all this Tuesday. The state eviction moratorium ends Friday and the state doesn't allow the county to enact its own moratorium.

"So in two days, if you haven't paid your rent, theoretically, your landlord can file an eviction right away," Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said.

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With a statewide eviction moratorium ending Friday, officials in California are rushing to make sure tenants with unpaid rent know they can still stay in their homes after that date - but only if they have applied for assistance from the state.

The state has money available to help low-income tenants pay back rent. Trang Ho says her tenants wouldn't qualify because they have jobs. She lost her job back in June and is still waiting for unemployment benefits.

She pointed Eyewitness News to her tenants' online postings on Facebook, which she says show they are going on vacation to Mexico and Paris, and one who boasts he's had eleven commercials this year.

"I am fuming mad. I cannot believe it, they are having the time of their lives while laughing at me. I didn't even travel anywhere past San Diego last year," says Trang Ho.

L.A. County Supervisors on Tuesday passed a motion that allows both tenants and businesses to have some type of limited legal defense.

"These protections don't prohibit evictions, I think it's important for people to understand. They essentially provide both residential and commercial tenants with a defense if your landlord files an eviction with the courts," says Kuehl.

The board also voted to extend a moratorium on evictions of commercial tenants through the end of January, but it does not apply to residential tenants.

The board was able to renew protections against tenant harassment and retaliation under its COVID-19-related order. Those rules are intended to give tenants an affirmative defense against unjust evictions.

The board also expanded the conditions that allow landlords to move back into homes they previously rented out, as part of a plan to gradually lift all COVID-related rental market restrictions.

Officials urge tenants with unpaid rent to apply for state assistance in order to get eviction protection.

Applications can be submitted online until available funding runs out.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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