The Los Angeles City Council recently enacted an ordinance allowing residential tenants in the City of Los Angeles to sue landlords for violating protections for tenants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the City of Los Angeles has established a number of protections for tenants due the COVID-19 pandemic. The protections include:
- Allowing tenants who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to have up to one year from the expiration of the local state of emergency to pay rent due.
- Prohibiting landlords from filing and eviction or endeavoring to evict any tenant for “no fault reasons.”
- Prohibiting landlords from endeavoring to evict or filing to evict any tenant based upon unauthorized guests, pets, or nuisance related to COVID-19.
- Prohibiting landlords from charging late fees or interest on rent not paid due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Prohibiting landlords from from using unlawful means to require a tenant to transfer any sum for rent due from any government relief program (signing over rights to a stimulus or other aid program)
- Requiring landlords to give notice of certain protections on a HCIDLA form.
The private right of action includes a penalty of up to $10,000 for violation and an additional $5,000 for any tenant who is older than the age of 65 or disabled. There is also an attorneys’ fees provision allowing a tenant to recover attorneys’ fees. A landlord may recover attorneys’ fees if a court finds the action to be frivolous. A tenant is required to provide written notice to the landlord of any alleged violation and require the landlord to remedy the violation within fifteen days.
This private right of action is in response to a number of stories involving landlords filing evictions, threatening evictions, or harassing tenants for rent. However, because there is a fifteen day cure period, a landlord can fix the problem once the landlord is notified of any alleged violation.
If you have questions regarding the new ordinance, please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio at 818-839-5220.