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Los Angeles Approves $100 Million in Pandemic Rent Relief

By Rusty Tweed

 

Update:

Since the conception of this article, LA city council has passed the $100-million coronavirus rent relief program offering assistance to those affected by the pandemic.  The relief program will provide low-income renters that have fallen ill or lost work with up to $2,000 in rental assistance. For more information, click on the link above.

$100 Million In Pandemic Rent Relief

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a lot of questions around rent payments. Many renters in the city of Los Angeles are unable to pay their rents, and many landlords, who desperately need the money, are pressuring them to pay.

To ease tensions between tenants and landlords the city Los Angeles has enacted a rent relief program to combat the issue. Called the Emergency Renters Assistance Subsidy Program, this isn’t just any relief program that gives a few hundred thousand dollars to those in need: it’s a $100 million program!

While many other cities are enacting similar rental assistance programs to assist renters and landlords, Los Angeles’ is the largest of its kind. City Council President Nury Martinez explained that this aid program would pull from the CARES Act’s $700 million federal stimulus that the city is set to receive.

City Council President Nury’s Plans

Martinez plans on using $100 million of the stimulus to subsidize landlords who need rental payments to stay afloat. Relief programs such as this are necessary, especially in light of increasing unaffordability in the United States’ housing market. It is estimated that this relief program will help more than 70,000 renters who would otherwise face eviction.

While Los Angeles has already enacted short-term eviction moratoriums, it wasn’t a sustainable practice. This is because the majority of landlords are working-class individuals who rely on rent for their own financial security. Without this aid program, it is likely that many rental properties would first evict tenants and then go into foreclosure, with the landlords losing everything!

Working Together

Obviously, no one wants to see that happen, so Los Angeles is taking the necessary steps for prevention. The catalyst for this relief program actually stemmed not from the government, but from the actions of the California Apartment Association and the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles: groups that represent property owners. They feel that most stimulus programs seek to help small-business owners but often neglect property owners.

They explain that non-payments and deferrals that are commonplace in a pandemic economy can destroy small property owners who rely on rental income to pay their mortgages and survive. The groups have been calling on government officials to address the problems being faced by property owners in the wake of the pandemic, and they finally got through.

In fact, government officials in Los Angeles are seeking additional money on top of the initial $100 million to help everyone involved. This is a special moment because, while the two parties are usually in conflict they are now close family members trying to find a way to both help renters and landlords.