Q&A with the Apartment Association – January 2022 Update

We sat down again with Oliver John Baptiste from the Apartment Association of California Southern Cities to ask about the latest landlord and apartment owner concerns in Long Beach, California. Here are the latest topics that are impacting landlords like you!

State of California Housing is Key Rent Relief Program

California’s state-run Housing is Key program is running out of money despite the additional $68.7 million funds from the U.S. Treasury Department. Although the demand for rental relief is still strong, landlords who have tenants that are still struggling to pay their rent can still apply for the program until the end of March 2022.

Landlords are encouraged to work with their renters to apply for the program and get reimbursed for 100% of unpaid rent dating back as far as April 1, 2020. The program is free and does not currently have a deadline, but because funding will run out, renters are encouraged to apply as soon as possible if they know they may struggle to cover past or prospective rent and utilities.

Rent Relief Application and Eviction Process

Beginning October 1, 2021, the law requires any landlord wanting to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent to apply for rental assistance before proceeding with an eviction lawsuit.

Any landlord wanting to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent that came due any time since March 1, 2020, must follow a certain procedure:

  1. Serve the proper documentation: a 15 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
  2. Apply for financial assistance through the state or local government’s rental assistance program. Long Beach landlords need to apply through the city.
  3. If approved, qualifying landlords and tenants will receive 100% of all unpaid rent accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. If within 20 days, the application either has received no response or has been denied, then the landlord can begin the eviction process.

Oliver mentioned that many tenants have been trying to abuse the rental relief program, which has caused numerous delays and denials with applications.

In order to be eligible your tenant’s household income must be at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). This program will prioritize assisting tenants with a household income at or below 50% of AMI.

 Household Size 12345678
50% AMI Limit $39,450  $45,050  $50,700  $56,300  $60,850 $65,350$69,850$74,350
80% AMI Limit$63,100$72,100$81,100$90,100$97,350 $104,550  $111,750  $118,950 

City of Los Angeles Eviction Moratorium Extended Until 2023

The City of Los Angeles’ eviction moratorium will be in effect until at least January 8, 2023, and will be extended as the City’s State of Emergency Declaration is extended monthly. Renters in the City of Los Angeles have 12 months after the Emergency Declaration ends to pay past due rent related to COVID-19’s economic impact. Outside of Los Angeles, cities within Los Angeles County have a different county-wide eviction moratorium extension.

Los Angeles County Eviction Moratorium Extended Into 2023

On January 25th, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted an extension and expansion to the Countywide, applicable to the unincorporated areas and incorporated cities, eviction moratorium provisions into 2023. In addition, the rent increase freeze which applies to rent-controlled units within the County’s unincorporated areas was also extended.

Los Angeles County’s eviction moratorium was established in March 2020, as an interim emergency measure necessitated by a global pandemic and government-mandated stay-at-home orders that resulted in business shutdowns and escalating unemployment. Nearly two years later, these measures can no longer be characterized as temporary. Moreover, in light of the Board of Supervisors’ actions this past week, the eviction moratorium will remain in effect to some extent through June 30, 2023.

Landlords in the City of Los Angeles are Not Allowed to Increase Rents Until 2023

Los Angeles rent control laws generally apply only to rent-stabilized units built before October 1st of 1978. Usually, landlords were allowed to increase rents on current tenants between 3% and 8% every year, depending on the April Consumer Price Index.

But Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s emergency order changed that, and landlords have been blocked from any rent increases until January 8th of 2023. Landlords remain able to charge whatever they want for apartments once a tenant vacates.

If you’re a landlord in the city of Long Beach, the city has its own rent increase limitations. Read more about it here.

New California Law AB-468 Cracks Down on Emotional Support Animal Fraud

In the case of landlords that do not allow pets into their units yet still have to confront tenants claiming to have pets as emotional animals, the State of California passed AB-468 which went into effect on January 1, 2022. This new law is designed to mitigate these confrontations by reducing the number of fraudulent certifications for emotional support animals and service animals.

It is important to note that if landlords plan to evict tenants who claim to have emotional support animals or service animals, Oliver recommends giving a tenant a reasonable amount of time (2-4 weeks) to provide or obtain proper documentation before moving forward with an eviction.

Long Beach Extends Eviction Ban for Substantial Renovation

Evictions issued by landlords for remodeling their units will continue to be banned (despite this ban’s expiration at the end of 2021) through the end of February 2022, as the Long Beach City Council waits for a new city ordinance to be prepared for it to vote on later this year.

During the council’s last meeting in December, members opted to ask that the new ordinance raise the amount or relocation assistance required of landlords for each displaced unit to $4,500, or two months rent, and required a 90-day notice to vacate the unit. State law required just one month’s rent to be paid to tenants. The pending ordinance could also establish a civil penalty of up to $15,000 for landlords found in violation of the city ordinance.

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