Come Tuesday, Los Angeles landlords will be looking to collect the rents that were legally withheld because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
That’s when the rent debt repayment program enacted in the height of the pandemic’s first wave will come into effect. Ironically, the program – designed to help those whose jobs were shut down by the initial wave of the disease – arrives at a time where the city is again faced with an economic crisis. This time, the twin SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes have affected the guild memberships and the ancillary businesses that rely on their work product and patronage.
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As a result, many already struggling to recover from the pandemic and hit by the strikes will now have to come up with a massive lump sum in rent that may be beyond their reach.
“My hope is that the impending August 1 rent debt repayment deadline actually push us to reshape and transform our current system into one that proactively supports vulnerable tenants to stay housed, not just at this moment but over the long term,” Los Angeles Councilperson Nithya Raman (District 4) said in a statement.
Tenants have until Aug. 1 to pay any missing rent that was due between March 2020 to September 2021. For rent due between October 2021 to Jan. 31, tenants have until February 2024 to pay the missing rent.
The mayor’s office and the Los Angeles Housing Department have launched a campaign to inform vulnerable tenants about the resources and protections available to them.
But it’s still a nervous time for many tenants and their landlords that rely on rental income to pay their own mortgages.
The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles is an independent nonprofit that supports the mayor’s vision on homelessness prevention.
The organization’s “We Are LA” program recently began to help at-risk tenants stay housed. The mayor’s office reported Thursday afternoon that $38 million has been raised from the measure.
“We will only be able to solve our city’s homelessness crisis if we work to prevent people from falling into homelessness in the first place,” Bass said in a statement Thursday.
She added that the city will do all it can to prevent a “wave of evictions” as they continue to confront homelessness.
Last month, when the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released its annual Homeless Count. This year’s 10% rise countywide represented the second-biggest rise in the report’s five year history.
Information on tenant’s rights and a list of resources can be found at stayhousedla.org/tenant-rights.
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