Due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, many local governments in California have passed eviction moratoriums prohibiting landlords from evicting residential tenants who fail to pay rent. Although those ordinances have some narrow exceptions, such as where a tenant engages in criminal activity on the property, the ordinances have stymied most evictions. While the state’s moratorium expired in September 2021, last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the county’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium until December 31, 2022, and to reinstate protections for failure to pay rent beginning April 1, 2022.

What this means. The extension includes a rent freeze until December 31, 2022 and prohibits residential landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent, or who cause a nuisance or have unauthorized occupants or pets. The ordinance also provides for tenant self-certification of COVID-19 financial hardship for rent incurred after April 1, 2022, which establishes an affirmative defense against eviction. That protection will be amended on June 1, 2022 to apply only to households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income due to COVID-19 financial hardship.

The extension does not apply to commercial tenants.  As of February 1, 2022, commercial tenants are no longer protected from eviction due to nonpayment of rent. Commercial tenants with zero to nine employees will have 12 months to repay past due rent from March 2020 to January 2021, while commercial tenants with 10 to 100 employees will have six months to repay past due rent in equal installments. The ordinance does, however, prohibit enforcement of personal guarantees by commercial tenants with zero to nine employees for rent incurred on or before January 21, 2022.