This week, Supervisor Kathryn Barger voiced her opposition to a motion passed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to extend and expand emergency renter eviction protections through 2023.
“The bottom line is public health experts are advising that we are not going to have to return to measures that restrict people from being able to work,” Barger stated. “By voting to continue the eviction moratorium, we are legislating for the exception, not the norm. We are creating rules purely in anticipation of a scenario that is highly unlikely. This is bad policy.”
She noted the current 78-percent full vaccination rate among L.A. County residents, the availability of boosters and the widespread opening of all economic sectors as proof that the County is “effectively living with COVID-19.” Barger also cited the upcoming 2022 Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium, which is expected to bring in considerable local revenue, as proof that the County has achieved a level of normalcy and should not impose emergency economic protections.
Community based “mom and pop” property owners also expressed their dismay and frustration with the County’s decision to extend the eviction moratorium.
“No other business sector has been forced to do what we’ve had to do for almost two years now – renters don’t even have to present any proof of financial hardship,” said Diane Robertson, co-founder of the Coalition of Small Rental Property Owners. “The decision to extend this moratorium totally disregards us landlords who are just like our renters. We live in the same communities, many times in the same rental properties. We rely on our rental income to live. What kind of protections and support are available to us?”
Barger read in a separate motion in response to the Board’s extension of the eviction moratorium, co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to offer landlords financial support. The motion explores the feasibility of forgiving property tax payments for landlords who are unable to collect rent from tenants.
“It has become clear to me that our County does not have enough skin in this game,” Barger said. “This board is asking landlords to shoulder a burden for those who have been impacted by COVID-19. We should also be willing to bear the same burden.”