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Housing and Homelessness

LA County Extends Pandemic Eviction Protections By One Month Amid ‘Respiratory Illness Trifecta’

Paper reads: "Eviction Notice, Notice to Quit" with a surgical mask resting nearby
Defaulting renter with facemask receives letter giving notice of eviction from home on wooden table
(BackyardProduction/Getty Images/iStockphoto
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iStockphoto)
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Topline:

L.A. County will extend its eviction protections for tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by one month, following a vote Tuesday by the County’s Board of Supervisors.

Why now: The County’s eviction safeguards were set to expire after Dec. 31. But supervisors voted to push the deadline back one month, aligning with the city of L.A.’s tentative plans to phase out eviction protections after Jan. 31, 2023. The decision means that tenants across L.A. County who are unable to pay rent due to the pandemic’s lasting economic impacts will no longer face immediate eviction if they can’t pay their January rent on time. However, unless the County extends the deadline again before the end of January, renters unable to pay their February rent could face eviction.

Why it matters: The County’s COVID-19 renter protections have been in place since March of 2020, and have prevented tens of thousands of households from facing eviction after losing work, income or family members due to the pandemic. The extension will offer another month of eviction protections for renters throughout L.A., including unincorporated areas and all cities within the county.

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The backstory: Landlords have long pushed the County to rescind the eviction rules, arguing that businesses have reopened, jobs have returned and COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. But Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s motion to extend the protections said the extra time “will help reduce the number of households displaced this winter as the County faces what some are calling a respiratory illness trifecta,” including COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and seasonal flu.

What’s next: The County’s extension could stave off a wave of evictions predicted by tenant advocates. But with U.S. Census Bureau survey data from November showing that almost 11% of L.A. tenant households are behind on rent, many could still struggle to pay starting Feb. 1. The board also approved an amendment by Supervisor Hilda Solis asking for city staff to report back in 30 days on the possibility of extending the County’s eviction protections until June 30, 2023 and creating a $5 million relief program for small landlords.

Go deeper: One Month Late On Rent? In LA County, You May Soon Be Protected From Eviction