With the end of the month almost here, apartment renters in West Hollywood are struggling to understand the city’s eviction moratorium rules and those adopted by the State of California. Several have recently posted questions on social media platforms after having received from local landlords forms produced by the Apartment Association of Los Angeles, which represents landlords and property owners.
Renters can find answers to their questions by joining the City of West Hollywood’s free webinar about residential eviction protections under both city and state rules, which takes place at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 30). Registration for the webinar can be done online.
In response to job losses and other economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, West Hollywood on March 16 enacted a moratorium on evictions of residential tenants who were unable to pay their rent. The City Council later extended that moratorium to Sept. 30. And it stipulated that tenants would have 12 months to pay their past due rent when the moratorium ended.
Then Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 1 signed into law a state bill, AB 3088, that extends the residential eviction moratorium through Jan. 31, 2021. But there are requirements that tenants (and landlords) have to meet:
The landlord trying to get you to pay your past due rent during the period beginning March 2 and ending Aug. 31 must alert you by providing you with a standard “pay or quit” form, which you yourself can access online.
If you are unable to pay the past due rent from that period when you receive the “pay or quit” notice, you can block the eviction by responding to the landlord with a document stating that you can’t pay up because of the financial impact of COVID-19. The standard form you should use can be found here and must be delivered within 15 business days of your receipt of the landlord’s “pay or quit” notice.
If your landlord already holds proof that your annual income is more than 130% of the median household income in Los Angeles County and more than $100,000 a year, you may have to provide your landlord with evidence that you can’t pay the rent. That could include a statement from your employer or pay stubs or perhaps a bank account statement. In L.A. County, the median income varies by size of household, with the one-person household median being $54,100, followed by $61,850 (two people), $69,550 (three people), $77,300 (four people), $83,500 (five people), $89,650 (six people), $95,850 (seven people), and $102.050 (eight people). Following state law, a household would be considered high income if the household made more than the following annual income: $100,000 (one/two/three person(s)), $100,490 (four people), and $108,550 (five people). So, if you live alone and make more than $100,000 a year, you may be required to offer proof as to why you can’t pay your rent.
If you can’t pay your rent during the period beginning Sept. 1, 2020 and ending Jan. 31, 2021, the same requirements listed above apply if a you are served with a 15-day notice. But, by Jan. 31, 2021, you must have paid at least 25% of the rent due during the period from Sept. 1, 2020, to Jan. 31. You can make that payment by giving your landlord 25% of what you owe each month. Or you can wait until the Jan. 31, 2021, deadline and pay 25% of the total past due rent since Sept. 1. The remaining 75% of your rent remains due and, under the City of West Hollywood residential eviction moratorium, must be paid by Sept. 30, 2021.
Until Jan. 31, 2021, the City of West Hollywood prohibits all other evictions except for the four grounds-for-eviction listed in the city’s ordinance, which includes a prohibition from evicting tenants for keeping pets in their apartments.
In addition to Wednesday’s webinar, the city is hosting a series of virtual Rent Stabilization Ordinance workshops at 7 p.m. on each Tuesday in October. The Oct. 6 workshop will feature a “tenant basics” workshop followed by an Oct. 13 “tenant advanced” workshop, which will highlight tenant protections and resources. Then, a “landlord basics” workshop will be presented on Oct. 20 and a “landlord advanced” workshop on Oct. 27, which will give landlords a deeper understanding of the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance and tenant’s rights and responsibilities. Information about joining the online Zoom workshops is provided on the city’s website calendar at www.weho.org/calendar