WeHo City Amends Residential Eviction Moratorium Related to Financial Impact Due to COVID-19

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Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood, at its regular meeting on Monday, February 1, 2021, approved an Urgency Ordinance, which extends certain portions of the City’s Residential Eviction Moratorium. Full text of the Urgency Ordinance is available here.

On Friday, January 29, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 91 (SB 91), immediately enacting the “COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act” (“the Act”). The Act augments AB 3088 and extends some of its time limits to provide additional rental debt relief and protections to residential tenants and small landlords/homeowners. Most significantly, the Act extends the state’s residential eviction moratorium from January 31, 2021 to June 30, 2021 and creates a State Rental Assistance Program.

To conform to the new State law, the City’s Urgency Ordinance extends the time that tenants are protected from eviction for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 as follows, by date range:

  • From March 16, 2020 to September 30, 2020 — Repayment period for deferred rent is October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, pending any future timeline extensions under State law; and
  • October 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 — As determined by State law, tenants must provide a declaration of hardship to their landlord within 15 days upon request from landlord and payment of 25 percent of the rent for the months within this period by June 30, 2021. Additional documentation may be required for high-income tenants.

The City of West Hollywood’s Residential Eviction Moratorium prohibits all other residential evictions through Wednesday, March 31, 2021, except evictions for the following reasons:

  • Nonpayment of rent NOT due to impacts of COVID-19;
  • Using the unit for an illegal purpose;
  • Creating a dangerous and unsanitary condition; and
  • An imminent and objectively verifiable threat to the health and safety of someone in the tenant’s household or in the property.

SB 91 also creates the State Rental Assistance Program funded by federal appropriations. The Program allows landlords of low-income tenants or the tenants themselves to apply for rental assistance, prioritizing rent in arrears over prospective rent. If a landlord applies, the landlord may receive 80 percent of unpaid rental debt accumulated from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. To receive payment, the landlord must give up the right to evict an eligible tenant based on COVID-19 rental debt (rent that came due from March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021). If a landlord declines to participate in the Program, the tenant can apply, but will only receive up to 25 percent of unpaid rental debt accumulated from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. The mechanics on how the Program will be administered are still being developed at the state level. The City of West Hollywood’s Rent Stabilization and Housing Division will provide details and will host virtual community engagement sessions as more information becomes available.

The City first approved its Residential Eviction Moratorium on in March 2020. The City amended that Moratorium and approved a Commercial Eviction Moratorium in April 2020. On September 1, 2020, Governor Newsom signed AB 3088 (COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020). Among other things this State law extended the period of protection from eviction to tenants for nonpayment of rent through January 31, 2021, so long as tenants comply with the Act’s requirements. With Governor Newsom signing SB 91, statewide protections are extended through June 30, 2021.

Under SB 91, no tenant can be evicted as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship accrued between March 4, 2020 and August 31, 2020 if, upon notice from the landlord, the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation’s timelines. For a COVID-19-related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, tenants who receive a notice from their landlords must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due before June 30, 2021, to avoid eviction. High-income tenants may also be required to provide additional documentation. SB 91 continues on AB 3088’s approach to residential eviction protection, while maintaining important and impactful local provisions; it provides specific provisions for cities with existing moratorium ordinances. The full text of the SB 91 is available here.

The City of West Hollywood regularly updates its Renters Resources webpage area as part of coronavirus information available on the City’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus. At this webpage area, community members can find up-to-date details about relief available during the coronavirus crisis on a variety of topics.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Residential Eviction Moratorium, contact Jonathan Holub, Acting Rent Stabilization and Housing Manager, at (323) 848-6301 or at jholub@weho.org.

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