LA County Extends Eviction Moratorium, Will Consider Debt Relief for Small Businesses
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to extend the Countywide moratorium on both residential and commercial evictions to September 30th, 2021.
Ordered by the Chair of the Board last March, the eviction moratorium has recently entered its 15-month anniversary. Along with California's own eviction moratorium, commercial landlords have long struggled through moratorium orders with no end in sight.
According to the order, both residential and commercial tenants may not be evicted for nonpayment of rent, late charges, interest, or any other fees accrued due COVID-19 and relevant emergency orders. A tenant must provide notice within 7 days of when rent or charges are due, barring extenuating circumstances.
Commercial tenants with 9 or fewer employees may provide a self-certification of inability to pay rent. Tenants with 10 or more employees, but fewer than 100, must provide written documentation confirming financial hardship.
Repayment Period and Payback Plans
Commercial tenants with 9 or fewer employees will have up to 12 months after the expiration of the eviction moratorium to repay unpaid rent. Tenants with 10 or more employees, but fewer than 100, will have 6 months after the expiration of the eviction moratorium to repay unpaid rent.
The County encourages landlords and tenants to enter payment plans or other negotiations that best support both parties. If the tenant is financially capable, partial rent payments are also encouraged.
However, it's important to note that failure to pay rent is not a cause for eviction. If such provisions are included in the repayment period, they will be considered void. Further, landlords may not apply a rental payment to rental debt other than the prospective month's rent, unless the tenant has agreed in writing.
Rental Debt Relief Proposed for Small Businesses
However, it's important to note that the Board of Supervisors will examine how to phase out certain moratorium protections, whilst also implementing relief measures to support small landlords and businesses.
In one proposed motion, the County would consider supporting qualifying small businesses through rental debt relief. In doing so, landlords will be able to receive a portion of this rent relief, with priority going towards smaller commercial landlords.
According to the motion, qualifying businesses include the following:
- Be a person or entity that operates or has operated in the past 24
months an independently owned and operated business that has
its principal place of business in the County;
- Have an annual average number nine or fewer full-time equivalent
- Have annual total gross revenues of no more than $1,000,000; and
- Demonstrate a gross revenue loss of at least 25% over a
twelve-month period falling at least in part within the period of the
County’s COVID-19 emergency order.
The County expects to hear back a report on this matter within 60 days.