The State’s COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium (The Tenant Relief Act of 2020) recently passed, but many landlords who own apartment buildings in the City of Los Angeles have wondered how AB 3088 interacts with the City of Los Angeles’ COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium. The Los Angeles City Attorney has provided some guidance recently.

First, the City of Los Angeles’ COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium supersedes AB 3088 for residential tenants in the City of Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles’ Moratorium generally prohibits a landlord from evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent if the tenant has a COVID-19 related financial hardship. There is no end date meaning the Moratorium will last as long as the City has declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19.

Second, tenants in the City of Los Angeles should continue to pay rent if able to. Nothing in the City of Los Angeles’ Eviction Moratorium or AB 3088 waives any rent or releases any obligation to pay rent eventually.

A landlord in the City of Los Angeles still cannot evict a tenant for non-payment if the tenant has a financial hardship related to COVID-19; however, AB 3088 has now created a provision that requires that a tenant pay all rent owed by the later date of either (1) one year from when the City of Los Angeles lifts the state of emergency or (2) March 1, 2022. For example, if the City of Los Angeles lifts the state of emergency on January 31, 2021, all rent owed would be due on January 31, 2022.

However, a landlord may be able to commence a small claims lawsuit for rent owed starting March 1, 2021. Although a tenant cannot be evicted for rent owed until the later date of one year after the state of emergency is lifted or March 1, 2022, a tenant may still be liable for a judgment for rent owed.

AB 3088 did not address residential tenancies. In the City of Los Angeles, commercial tenants have three months after the state of emergency to pay rent owed if the business suffered a COVID-19 related financial hardship. With regards to commercial tenancies, there may be issues involving a breach of lease in addition to any eviction consequences.

For the City Attorney’s opinion on the matter, please click here.

For more information regarding evictions and landlord-tenant issues related to to COVID-19, please contact Anthony Marinaccio at 818-839-5220.