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LA Tenants Union Puts Repealing the Ellis Act on the Table

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LA Tenants Union puts repealing the Ellis Act on the table

LOS ANGELES (Knock.LA) — They’ve gotten commitments from Senator Maria Elena Durazo and Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo — but from the latter only in private.

Demonstrators outside of Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo’s office on Sunset Boulevard, crossing out her name on a banner because her office refused to give a public statement in support of repealing the Ellis Act. “The Ellis Act is a racist act,” they chanted.

In the final action of their week-long Days of Rage, on Monday afternoon dozens of members of the Vermont y Beverly (VyBe) Local of the Los Angeles Tenants Union (LATU) led a demonstration calling on their state representatives to repeal the Ellis Act.

The prime target of this protest was California State Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo — but it wasn’t intended to be that way. VyBe had previously held […]

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Los Angeles City Council Meetings Cancelled, Surprising Activists

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Los Angeles City Council Chambers (credit: Mr. Littlehand/Flickr)

by Patrick Range McDonald, Housing is a Human Right

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez (pictured) has cancelled council meetings for the rest of March, surprising activists seeking critical relief measures to help vulnerable residents. Activists are now urging Martinez to hold an emergency meeting to pass such protections as a rent freeze and mortgage suspension.

“It’s extremely disappointing and, frankly, an abdication of responsibility for the City Council to go dark with millions of Angelenos confronting a pandemic,” says Housing Is A Human Right Director René Christian Moya. “April 1st is coming. Rents and mortgages will be due. Our City Council should work round the clock to ensure income stability, housing. and peace of mind for all.”

Los Angeles City Council Meetings Cancelled, Surprising Activists

Martinez claims the reason for the sudden cancellation is that the City Council is not yet ready to hold remote meetings, according to the Los Angeles Times. That, in itself, is alarming — the second largest city in the nation is facing a pandemic, but the Los Angeles City Council hasn’t figured out how to hold remote meetings. And the council won’t figure it out, apparently, for weeks.

So far, in Los Angeles County, according to the county public health department, there have been 662 confirmed coronavirus cases and 11 deaths. In L.A., confirmed cases have been found in, among other neighborhoods, Brentwood (31), the Melrose area, (26), Hollywood (19), North Hollywood (10), and Sherman Oaks (10).

Healthy LA Coalition, a citywide coalition of more than 150 organizations, has been pressing the Los Angeles City Council to quickly approve protections, including rent forgiveness and mortgage suspension, a moratorium on evictions, a rent freeze, emergency rental assistance, homeowner assistance, and other items.

“As COVID-19 triggers a national state of emergency, and a statewide call to stay home and stay sheltered, many Angelenos are forced to put their health on the line simply to keep a roof over their heads,” the coalition wrote in a statement. “In this precarious time, it’s crucial that [City Council members’] next actions be bold, decisive, and for the good of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.”

Healthy LA Coalition is distributing a petition for the public to sign, calling for the swift passage of its legislative proposals.

“Our own health depends on the health of the person next to us, and the person next to them,” the coalition wrote. “Ensuring every Angeleno’s access to the space, resources, and health services they need is how we take care of each other. Our local governments’ actions must reflect this essential truth and rise to the scale of this enormous challenge. This is not the time for half-steps or hesitation. Now is the moment to protect the most vulnerable. When we do that, we protect everyone.”

Patrick Range McDonald was a longtime staff writer at L.A. Weekly, where he won numerous awards. He’s now an advocacy journalist for Housing Is A Human Right.

(Reprinted with permission)

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WeHo Updates on Renter Hardships and Eviction Moratorium

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City’s Eviction Moratorium Urgency Ordinance Applies to Nonpayment Eviction Notices and Unlawful Detainer Actions Served or Filed on or After March 16, 2020; Ordinance Will Remain in Effect for 60 Days and May Be Extended

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is making every effort to respond to community needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency and Safer at Home Los Angeles County Order. The City of West Hollywood approved an Urgency Ordinance on Monday, March 16 that protects renters with a temporary moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent during the current state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This Ordinance applies to nonpayment eviction notices served or filed on or after March 16, 2020 and remains in effect for 60 days, unless extended. There will be no evictions for lack of rent if due to COVID-19 financial impact.

A link to complete information is available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus by clicking Renter Resources. Additional details about housing information and resources are available at www.weho.org/rent and questions about rental assistance may be directed to the City of West Hollywood’s Social Services Division at (323) 848-6510.

The following is what affected tenants must do to be covered under the Ordinance:

  • Notify landlords in writing within 30 days of the rental due date of inability to pay rent. Notification “in writing” includes email or text communications to a landlord or the landlord’s representative with whom the tenant has previously corresponded by email or text. Any medical or financial information provided to the landlord shall be held in confidence, and only used for evaluating the tenant’s claim.
  • State the ways in which they have been financially impacted, this can include:
    • Caring for myself or family member who is sick with COVID-19
    • Lay-off, loss of hours, or other income reduction resulting from business closure or other economic or employer impacts of COVID-19
    • Compliance with a recommendation from a government health authority to stay home, self- quarantine, or avoid congregating with others during the state of emergency
    • Extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses
    • Child care needs arising from school closures related to COVID-19
  • Provide documentation, which can include:
    • COVID-19 positive test result documentation
    • Letter, email, or texts related to lay-off, loss of hours or other income reduction
    • Health authority communication about recommendation to stay home, self-quarantine, etc.
    • Medical bills
    • Receipts/invoices of child-care costs

The following is information for landlords about affected tenants covered under the Ordinance:

Landlords are not allowed to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent if the tenant demonstrates inability to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19. A landlord who has been notified of lost income and inability to pay full rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19 — and has been provided with documentation in writing within 30 days after the date that rent is due seek to evict for nonpayment of rent. A template of a letter for tenants to notify residents is available at: https://www.weho.org/home/showdocument?id=44086

The Ordinance does not relieve the tenant from eventually paying the rent; rent will be due within six months after the expiration of the local emergency. The landlord may not charge a late fee on the rent. The ordinance is intended to be narrow and no other legal remedies available to the landlord are affected.

The following community organizations assist community members with housing resources in the City of West Hollywood:

Limited Rental Assistance

  • Aid for AIDS (Alliance for Housing & Healing) (323) 656-1107 — Provides financial assistance to persons living with HIV/AIDS to pay for rent, utilities and pharmaceuticals. The Alliance for Housing and Healing Aging in Place Program provides supplemental rental assistance to all older adults residing in the City of West Hollywood who are experiencing a rent burden.
  • National Council of Jewish Women (323) 852-7036 — Provides non-sectarian and non-gender-specific rental assistance to West Hollywood residents. Leave a message and your call will be returned.

Free or Low-Cost Legal Resources

  • Bet Tzedek Legal Services Legal Services | (323) 549-5841 | www.bettzedek.org
    Legal Aid including representation in evictions court. Call for an appointment.
  • Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) — For legal support, please e-mail contactCES@earthlink.net. In the email provide your name, phone number, address, whether your unit is rent stabilized or not, and a short summary of the issue. A representative will call you. Weekly Tenant Rights Clinics in Plummer Park are closed until further notice
  • Eviction Defense Network (213) 385-8112 | www.evictiondefensenetwork.org
    Representation for LA County tenants facing eviction as long as they seek assistance at least one week before the trial. Fees are based on a sliding scale, but no one is turned away for lack of funds.
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association — Lawyer Referral and Info Service (213) 243-1525 | www.lacba.org

This referral service is a nonprofit public service that allows members of the public to find a qualified attorney and get general information about common legal issues. There is no cost to access information through the service and there is no fee to get a referral to an attorney.

·       Disability Rights California | (800) 776-5746 | http://www.disabilityrightsca.org — Advocates, educates, investigates, and litigates to advance and protect the rights of Californians with disabilities.

·       Housing Rights Center | (800) 477-5977 | http://www.hrc-la.org — Their mission is to actively support and promote fair housing through education, advocacy and litigation, to the end that all persons have the opportunity to secure the housing they desire and can afford without discrimination.

The City of West Hollywood continues to urge community members to follow the LA County Department of Public Health’s Safer at Home Order, which went into effect Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. The Order will remain in effect until April 19, 2020, and may be extended. The Order was issued concurrently with orders from Gov. Gavin Newsom calling upon all individuals living in the State of California to stay home in order to reduce transmission of coronavirus.

West Hollywood City Hall is currently closed to the public and is suspending all in-person transactions. All public City buildings and facilities are closed. City Hall will remain accessible for business and essential services with transactions to be conducted by phone (323) 848-6400 and via the City’s website at www.weho.org.

The City of West Hollywood coronavirus updates are available at www.weho.org/coronavirus and the City encourages community members to follow @wehocity on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and turn on notifications for up-to-date information regarding details in the City of West Hollywood.

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Apartments

Most Renters Will Not Receive Protections Under WH Proposal

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NEW YORK (New York Times) — Most Americans who rent their home, many of whom have lost their jobs in the sudden economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak, will not be eligible for eviction protections, despite what President Donald Trump said this week.

Under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s plan released Wednesday, foreclosures and evictions would stop for 60 days on single-family homes with loans through the Federal Housing Administration. That would apply to roughly 8 million units, according to HUD. Only FHA homes lived in for at least a year can be rented out.

That’s compared with the roughly 43 million households who rented in 2019, according to the U.S. Census. Roughly half of renters rent their home from an […]

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