Opinion: The Extended Eviction Moratorium is a Pandemic Assault on Private Property Rights

David Clark

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Montecito Heights neighborhood of Northeast Los AngelesDavid Clark

Over the course of the last two years in Los Angeles County, our local communities have been face to face with survival scenarios on a day-to-day basis that hasn't been seen in the United States since The Great Depression. I see many of my neighbors out beside me helping feed and provide clothes to our Northeast Los Angeles residents who have fallen on unimaginable times. There is a solidarity in our purpose and these actions have never been more important. There is a misconception in our California landscape that building wealth reflects greed and divides people.

I'd like to express my gratitude to all of the Californians who help contribute to paying over 80% of the taxes in our great State helping to build through personal income tax the 5th largest economy in the world right in our backyards. Millionaires and billionaires contribute a disproportionate share of tax revenue. The top 1 percent of taxpayers now generate half of personal income tax receipts for the State. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, half of the state’s personal income tax revenue comes from those making $500,000 or more. Conversely, households making $50,000 or less make up nearly 60 percent of tax filings but make up just 2 percent of revenue.

As a residential real estate advisor and expert in the local neighborhoods that I am privileged to serve I see another trend happening as a result of the pandemic. While Americans have learned that using their home as an ATM isn’t the best way to take vacations, our political delegates and trustees face no ramifications for similar actions. While I am acknowledging a tremendous fear of adding more of our Angelenos to the already over 65,000 homeless in our communities who can’t pay rent as a direct result of our current global pandemic, we can’t rob Peter to pay Paul that will alter the course of generational wealth for property owners and change the landscape of private property rights which is one of the most important rights that we have as American citizens and California residents. This leads me to the County of Los Angeles.

By a 4-1 vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted on January 25th to extend the County’s Eviction Moratorium through the end of 2022.

  • April 1st protections against evictions for nonpayment of rent incurred on or after April 1st, 2022 will be reinstated and the rent freeze for many residential properties in unincorporated areas will continue.
  • The Board passed a related motion, in an attempt to “help make housing providers whole,” and requested a 14-day report back from the staff on the feasibility of the forgiving, postponing, or waiving penalties on property tax payments owed by property owners who have not been receiving rent as a result of the eviction moratorium.

Through a basic internet search of landlord rights in Los Angeles County your results would yield less than a handful of articles and resources. On the contrary, tenant rights shape the landscape. Below are the recent notes taken from the agenda of the board of supervisors.

AGENDA FOR THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2022, 9:30 A.M.

Phase 1:

Phase I (February 1 - May 31, 2022): Beginning February 1, 2022, current residential tenant and mobilehome space renter protections set forth in the COVID-19 Tenant Protections Resolution shall be extended through May 31, 2022, where not preempted under State law; effective April 1, 2022, eviction protections shall be reinstated for all residential tenants and mobile home space renters, including creating an affirmative defense, related to nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 financial hardship for rent incurred on or after April 1, 2022; in addition, such eligible households shall be able to self-certify financial hardship in order to establish an affirmative defense in unlawful detainer actions; the County shall preserve protections relating to anti-harassment and retaliation for all residential and commercial tenants, prohibiting enforcement of personal guarantees for rent incurred by commercial tenants with nine employees or fewer, and requiring landlords to provide notices of rights to commercial tenants with nine employees or fewer, as stated in the resolution; commercial eviction protections for nonpayment of rent shall expire on January 31, 2022, due to a reinstated State law preemption concerning commercial tenancies.

Phase 2:

Phase II (June 1 - December 31, 2022): Specific protections for residential tenants and mobile home space renters shall be phased out beginning on June 1, 2022; the purchase date requirement for owner move-ins will be removed; the requirement that the residential tenant can only be displaced if the tenant has not been impacted by COVID-19 to allow for owner move-ins will be lifted; evictions for denying entry to a landlord shall resume, except when such attempted entries constitute harassment; eviction protections for nuisance, unauthorized occupants or pets shall remain; the rent increase freeze currently in place for residential properties in the unincorporated areas shall be extended; eviction protections shall continue for residential tenants and mobile home space renters, including creating an affirmative defense, related to nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 financial hardship for rent incurred on or after April 1, 2022, amended to apply to households who self-certify their income levels to be at 80 percent Area Median Income or below; the County shall preserve protections relating to anti-harassment and retaliation for all residential and commercial tenants, prohibiting enforcement of personal guarantees for rent incurred by commercial tenants with nine employees or fewer, and requiring landlords to provide notices of rights to commercial tenants with nine employees or fewer, as stated in the resolution.

For those of you unaware this leadership has imposed its lack of leadership before. The Los Angeles County rent stabilization ordinance is another example of political appearances with deep consequences, most importantly not allowing the market to determine price through demand.

  • The Los Angeles County Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) is a local law that sets the maximum annual rent increase based on the changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and provides tenants protection from evictions without just cause. The RSO also provides a process for property owners to seek relief if they believe they are not receiving a fair return on their rental units under the permitted maximum annual rent increase.

In theory, this looks like a well-balanced diet full of nutrition which meets the casual requirements of each box on those classic pyramid diet diagrams. The taste reflects a reality that goes against one of the most important aspects the government provides us and that is the protection of our individual property rights.

With a 3-year eviction ban and legalized squatting landlords are losing their life savings. Landlords are paying a mortgage, tax, and insurance with no income. It's time that the biggest voice in our economy through property and income tax is heard before they start writing IOUs to Sacramento.

Tools & Resources for Los Angeles County Landlords

  • This booklet is specifically for LA landlords whose properties are covered by the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). Here, you will find information about the RSO along with your landlord responsibilities, rights, and resources available to you.
  • 211la.org The agency provides legal services for people of all ages throughout Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Services include discrimination assistance, landlord/tenant assistance, and help with landlord and tenant rights. The agency serves the majority of Los Angeles county zip codes and will accept calls and questions from individuals countywide. There are no geographic restrictions; however, inquiries from certain areas may be directed to other local housing rights organizations.
  • LA County Rent Relief Program - provides rent payments on behalf of an income-eligible household. The program is open to owners with rental units within the unincorporated areas of the First and Second Supervisorial Districts.
  • LA County Emergency Rental Assistance Program: provides rent payments to property owners on behalf of an income-eligible household, up to $1,000 per month, for three months. Unincorporated areas of the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Supervisorial Districts are eligible.

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A passion for California history, writing, architectural preservation, and extensive sales background drew me into becoming a residential real estate advisor. Above all else service to the communities I live in and explore.

Los Angeles County, CA
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