City provides update on tenants’ rights during COVID-19
Since Santa Monica issued its first eviction moratorium on March 14, tenants and landlords have been grappling with a constantly shifting legislative landscape of City, state and federal rental regulations. On Oct. 14, the City partnered with Bet Tzedek and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles to present on the current status of tenant protections.
“If you can’t pay the rent because of COVID one of the most important things to know is you are not alone. Many tenants are not able to pay their rent right now because of COVID,” said Romy Ganschow, Staff Attorney at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. “Even if you’ve already told your landlord that you can’t pay the rent because of COVID, there is a new state law that will require you to take some additional steps to make sure that you won’t be evicted for not paying the rent.”
If residents receive a notice asking for rent due from March 2020 through Aug. 2020 they should provide their landlord a declaration of COVID related financial distress to protect themselves from eviction proceedings. For rent due from Sept. 2020 through Jan. 2021 tenants must provide a declaration of COVID related financial distress and also pay 25% of rent due.
The declaration requires tenants state that they can’t pay rent for one of the following reasons due to COVID: loss of income, increase in expenses, childcare or financial responsibilities, or other financial impacts of COVID. Only one reason needs to apply and tenants do not need to tell their landlord which reason impacts them.