The West Hollywood City Council on Monday will consider expanding the city’s moratorium on evicting residents who can’t pay their rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic to cover all evictions, except those deemed necessary to protect public health and safety.
“The city’s current ordinance, which covers two potential grounds for eviction, leaves gaps that could be exploited by those seeking to circumvent the moratorium and could result in three-day notices and eviction case filings on grounds not covered by the current moratorium,” says a memo to the Council from the city’s Administrative Service Department.
“For example, the current ordinance protects a tenant who takes on an additional occupant unauthorized by the lease. But one can easily foresee such an occupant bringing in an unauthorized pet or having to park a car in an unauthorized location. These situations are not covered even though they are precipitated by the same emergency. It would be unwieldy and difficult to predict all of the situations that could arise that might lead to a lease violation while tenants are following public health orders to slow the spread of the disease.
“In addition, while the courts are not currently processing eviction actions per the Judicial Council order, they continue to accept such complaints for filing. This generates a letter from the court to the tenant notifying them that an eviction action is pending against them. A broader moratorium could prevent these actions from being filed in the first place and reduce the possibility of tenants vacating their units in response to these notices out of fear of eviction.”
On March 16, the city issued an “urgency ordinance” that barred landlords from evicting tenants who claimed they were unable to pay their rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in an unemployment rate of 15.5% in April. That moratorium originally was set to expire on May 31 but later was extended by the City Council to July 31. When the moratorium is over, tenants have 12 months to pay their past-due rent. The city on April 6 also prohibited landlords from implementing rent increases on rent-stabilized apartment until 60 days after officials declare the local emergency is over.
“This unprecedented health crisis is still unfolding and length of the state and local emergency is still unknown,” says the memo to the Council. “The county reports that the safer-at-home order is likely to be in place at least for the next three months. This means that it is imperative that residents continue to stay in their homes and shelter in place. The city cannot risk the possibility of mass evictions for reasons unrelated to the payment of rent.”
The City Council will hold a virtual meeting on Monday. The public portion of the meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.
You can live-stream the meeting by visiting the city’s website at www.weho.org/wehotv. The City Council meeting will also available on the city’s YouTube channel, and on streaming services such as AndroidTV, AppleTV, FireTV, and Roku. It is broadcast on Spectrum channel 10 in West Hollywood and AT&T U-verse channel 99 throughout Southern California. Digital streaming platform viewers can easily find programming by searching for “WeHoTV” within the search functions of these services. For more information contact WeHoTV staff at (323) 848-6388 or WeHoTV@weho.org.
There are several ways for residents to offer comments on matters before the City Council:
–Email a comment by visiting www.weho.org/councilagendas. Your comment must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Monday to be forwarded to the City Council and posted on the city’s website as part of the official meeting record.
–Call in. Residents who want to call into the videoconference must email City Clerk Yvonne Quarker ( email@example.com) in advance of Council meeting, to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. Include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling, and the agenda item you would like to speak on. Dial in 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting by calling (669) 900-6833. Then enter meeting ID 94188751501 then #. Mute your phone until you are asked to speak. Comments from the public are limited to two minutes per speaker.