Housing In Brief: Will L.A. Protect Tenants After The Eviction Moratorium?

L.A.'s eviction moratorium could end this month, but new tenant protections are in limbo.

Anti-eviction parade in San Francisco

(Photo by Thomas Hawk / CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Tenant Protections Debated As L.A.’s Eviction Moratorium Ends

As L.A.’s eviction moratorium approaches its potential end on Jan. 31, the city council is still debating a set of protections to blunt the impact on tenants. The package of legislation was initially planned to arrive in tandem with the moratorium’s end, but that’s now in question, according to the L.A. Times. Two city councilmembers filed an amendment in an effort to delay the eviction moratorium vote until protections pass.

Some of the tenant protections being considered are recommendations by the city’s housing department. They include a requirement that landlords pay for relocation costs after a large rent increase and setting a minimum threshold for how much rent a tenant can owe to justify an eviction. The council is also debating expanding “Good Cause,” which would ban landlords from evicting tenants without sound reason. The protections could face a full council vote on Friday, the Times reports.

Elsewhere in L.A., a hotel that was part of the city’s now-defunct Project Roomkey program will remain open for another year, according to LAist. Some people had already moved out of the L.A. Grand Hotel after the city gave them notice to leave last December. A representative from Mayor Karen Bass’ office told LAist that they will attempt to lease the building long-term. Bass announced a new program called “Inside Safe” last month that will proactively offer short-term and long-term housing to people in encampments, but the administration is still working on securing enough beds to house its unsheltered population.

California Governor Promises To Fund Homeless Response Despite Budget Shortfall

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would still send $1 billion to fund homeless services to cities and counties, despite a $22.5 billion budget shortfall, according to KCRA. Newsom, who had previously tried to withhold homeless funding until counties and states could provide more detailed plans, continued to talk tough at a budget presentation on Jan. 10, saying, “If we can’t clean up the encampments and address what’s happening chronically in our streets, I’m going to be hard-pressed to make a case to the legislature to provide them one dollar more.”

Newsom initially said he would be withholding $1 billion in funding in November, an announcement he made five days before his general election. Newsom claimed cities and counties hadn’t submitted ambitious enough plans for reducing homelessness. He reversed course by Nov. 18, pushing back the deadline to produce new homeless plans. That was before news of California’s large budget deficit seemed to imperil the funding.

Why Housing Preservation Matters

In her New York Times column, Ginia Bellafonte writes about the deterioration of affordable housing in New York City. While much affordable housing coverage focuses on new construction, equally as important is preservation, as the slow deterioration of decades-old buildings are leading tenants to move out.

Bellafonte focuses on the 12,000 unit Parkchester apartment complex in the Bronx, home to a working-class Black, Latino and Bangladeshi community. Built in the 1940s, the building is now facing water damage, mold, broken elevators and other maintenance issues. She writes, “To maintain their standard of living today, working people are essentially left fighting both greed and decay — the private takeover of subsidized housing and the deterioration of the buildings that, given their comparatively modest rents and maintenance costs, are not generally flush with the kind of cash necessary to make capital improvements.”

Gov. Hochul’s State of the State address this month outlined plans to boost housing production through rezonings and cutting bureaucratic red tape, but she had little to say about preservation.

This article is part of Backyard, a newsletter exploring scalable solutions to make housing fairer, more affordable and more environmentally sustainable. Subscribe to our weekly Backyard newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: los angeleshomelessnesscaliforniaevictionsrenters rights

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