The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out that the passage of urgency legislation – Assembly Bill 2179 – on Thursday, March 31, 2022 has two important impacts on tenants in the City:
No Current Protections for Non-Payment of Rent in West Hollywood
In anticipation of the sunset of the state’s preemption of local laws protecting tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19-related reasons, the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors enacted enhanced protections at its January 25, 2022 meeting that would cover West Hollywood tenants. Among these protections was a provision that any tenant, regardless of income, could avoid eviction for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 related reasons from April 1, 2022 through May 31, 2022. As of June 1, 2022, the protection would have applied to any tenant claiming a COVID-19 related hardship whose income fell at or below 80% of the area median income. The state legislature’s last-minute passage of AB 2179 on Thursday, March 31, 2022 has stripped local jurisdictions, including West Hollywood and the County, of the ability to offer any COVID-19 protections related to non-payment of rent until July 1, 2022. Despite this limitation on local government authority, County protections applicable to West Hollywood residents remain in effect as follows:
Continuation of Phase I (April 1 – May 31, 2022):
The following protections are available to residential tenants in West Hollywood through May 31, 2022 by continuing the residential eviction moratorium for:
- No-fault evictions (with limited exceptions for owner/relative move-ins);
- Evictions based on nuisances or for unauthorized occupants or pets whose presence is necessitated by or related to the COVID-19 emergency; and
- Evictions based on denials of entry except to remedy a dangerous condition or prevent substantial damage to the unit.
In addition to the limited allowance for owner/relatives to move into a unit, an eviction may be authorized when a tenant’s occupancy is a threat to public health and safety.
Phase II (June 1 – December 31, 2022):
All protections of Phase I will remain in place during Phase II except that, starting June 1, 2022:
- With respect to owner move-in eviction criteria, there will no longer be a purchase date requirement, and the requirement that residential tenants can only be evicted if the tenant has not been impacted by COVID-19 will be lifted.
- The protections for denial of entry expire, except where a landlord’s attempts to enter the unit constitute harassment.
Any protections related to non-payment of rent for COVID-19 related reasons are on hold to no sooner than July 1, 2022, unless the legislature takes additional action before that date.
Eviction Protections Extended to June 30, 2022 for Tenants with Pending State Rent Relief Program Applications
AB 2179 offers continuing protection for tenants who have a pending application with the state rent relief program, Housing is Key. The last day to file an application was March 31, 2022, and the urgency legislation provided no extension.
Under the state rent relief program, a landlord is eligible for 100 percent of unpaid rental debt of eligible households accumulated after April 1, 2020 and through March 31, 2022. To receive payment, the landlord must give up the right to evict an eligible tenant based on COVID-19 rental debt.
Through June 30, 2022, courts will only allow an eviction case based on non-payment of rent for COVID-19 related reasons to proceed if the landlord has attempted to obtain rental assistance to cover the unpaid amount and the application has been denied or more than 20 days has passed without any indication that the tenant will cooperate in the application process.
Information regarding the Housing is Key rent relief program for landlords and tenants may be found at housing.ca.gov.
Additionally, information about the City of West Hollywood’s COVID-19-related rental assistance programs can be found on the City’s website by visiting www.weho.org/services/social-services/financial-assistance.