What to Know About the Covid Moratorium on Rent
All levels of government had passed a moratorium on eviction and collection for nonpayment of rent. As of this date, Federal and California State moratoriums have expired.
While the moratoriums have expired at the state level and higher, counties or cities may have their own moratoriums in place providing protection to renters at a local level.
For example, in Los Angeles County a local county wide resolution was passed to extend protections through December 31, 2022. This has in place a freeze on rent increase, protection against eviction for no fault (except for qualified owner move in), nuisance, unauthorized occupants and pets, and nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 financial hardship. While the protection against nonpayment is not a shield against an Unlawful Detainer action being brought, it does provide an affirmative defense for a tenant who can show their household income is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income. In addition, the City of Los Angeles has enacted their own local ordinance as well as several other Counties and Cities within California.
For those areas that local protections have not been passed, unsatisfied rent is due. Past due rent could have been satisfied by one of the rental assistance programs available to help renters and landlords. While the time to apply for these assistance programs has now lapsed, if it had already been applied for this could have, or could in the future, pay some or all of the past due liabilities even if not paid in full. Some of these assistance programs provided payment to a landlord if they accepted a reduced amount. If they did accept this they cannot go after the renter now for the unpaid portion. Additionally, while new applications cannot be made some who have already put in applications are still waiting for the government to do their part. If there is an open application under one of these rental assistance programs, the landlord cannot take action for nonpayment, either eviction or collection, as the past due amount is covered within the still pending assistance waiting to be received.
For rent that is not covered and other local protections are not in place, a landlord can seek past due rent and recovery of property. While many methods are available to a landlord, given time, trouble, and expense it is usually in the best interest of a landlord to reach an agreement with their tenant particularly if past rent is the only issue they have had with the tenant. While eviction is an option, a landlord must also consider their own expenses not only in the eviction process but based on the time a tenant has been a resident there are certain required actions for preparing a property for a new tenant which if the prior tenant was there for a prescribed amount of time would be entirely at the landlord’s expense.
If you're a landlord seeking to collect rent or a tenant wanting to know more about your rights, contact our office for a FREE phone consultation: (800)-233-8521