Long Beach Extends Emergency Ordinance for Renters Affected by COVID-19

28 May

The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously in favor, on Tuesday, May 19, to amend and to extend the emergency ordinance, halting evictions for residential and some commercial tenants affected.by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Robert Garcia, according to the press release on the extension of the emergency ordinance, said, “We are seeing the unprecedented economic impacts that this pandemic is having on our residential and commercial tenants in Long Beach.”

“The extension of this emergency ordinance provides relief to those… most at risk of eviction and possible homelessness during this challenging time.”

The amendment extends the eviction moratorium and rent deferment an additional 60 days, to July 31, 2020. Protected tenants will have until July 31, 2021, to pay all delayed rent to landlords without incurring late charges and other fees. Tenants are encouraged to establish a payment plan for installments of deferred rent over the repayment period. 

If tenants can’t pay rent between March 4 and July 31, 2020, due to a reduction in income caused by COVID-19, they must notify their landlords that rent will not be paid on time. Tenants are required to provide documentation of substantial income losses caused by job layoffs, out-of-pocket medical expenses or requirements to stay at home due to COVID-19.

Through July 31, 2020, landlords issuing rental nonpayment notifications must include information about the City’s emergency ordinance to ensure that tenants are aware of their rights.

The amendment does not apply to large commercial tenants that are multi-national or publicly traded companies and companies with 500 or more employees, tenants at the Long Beach Airport, tenants in the Harbor or tenants in the Tidelands areas. The City and its commissions will work with these tenants, case-by-case to address the pandemic-related impacts and negotiate appropriate rent deferments or other accommodations.

Additionally, the City Council is exploring assistance for property owners impacted by COVID-19, including foreclosure relief, property tax refunds, and the possibility of a revolving loan fund.

Long Beach Residents Empowered, in an email of Thursday, May 21, said, it was “(s)till unclear if the undocumented community will qualify.” 

Ashley Salazar, Legislative Assistant for the 8th District Councilman Al Austin, by email, said, “Landlords are legally not able to inquire about the immigration status of their tenants, according to state law. Tenants in Long Beach would need to provide documentation of COVID-19 impact to qualify for the Emergency Ordinance for Renters. The documentation required only needs to show that there was a financial impact due to COVID-19.” 

The other eight Councilmembers didn’t respond to a request for comment regarding the undocumented, legal or illegal.

The City Council first adopted an emergency eviction moratorium on March 24, 2020 amid the COVID-19 outbreak.  The original emergency ordinance with the amended language may be found at http://longbeach.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8561735&GUID=0AADA91C-A190-47ED-9BE2-8218CB5C18A0.

The first version of this story had no response from the Councilmembers. The story was updated to reflect the added quote from Councilman Austin’s office.

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