LA City Council extends eviction moratorium

Landlords’ hopes were dashed when the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-1 to continue a declaration of state of emergency to deal with the COVID pandemic, which meant that a two-year-old eviction moratorium for evicting renters would not be lifted.

Outside City Hall, landlords and renters staged competing protests on the issue before the vote on July 27.

Councilmember John Lee cast the sole vote to lift the moratorium. In a press conference, Lee said small property owners have endured the burden of the eviction moratorium for far too long.

“This moratorium should not be used as a band-aid to resolve the structural issues of the past but that is exactly what we are doing every time we choose to extend it,” Lee said.

The rare landlord street protest outside Los Angeles City Hall was organized by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles to support Lee.

A crowd of less than 100 people from AAGLA and tenants groups yelled slogans and waved placards during a demonstration that was peaceful, but saw instances of protestors hurling insults and sharp-edged slogans at each other.

Demonstrators on both sides believed that a vote on lifting the moratorium could upend their lives. For Fred Di Bernardo, a landlord from Los Angeles’ San Pedro district, a decision to continue the moratorium could destroy his livelihood as well as that of his colleagues.

“We’re asked to provide housing, but we got to make profits,” Di Bernardo said.”We’re going to be out of business if our expenses continue to rise and our incomes remain stagnant.”

For Enrique “Kiké” Velasquez, a volunteer organizer for the L.A. Tenants Union, a decision to lift the moratorium could create holes in a fraying social safety net. “If the moratorium gets lifted, a tsunami of evictions are going to happen. People will end up in the streets,” he said.

Copyright The Real Deal 2022

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