The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion today by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell that establishes a $45M countywide relief fund for small property owners. The new rent relief program will benefit mom-and-pop property owners hardest hit by non-payment of rent.
During the board’s deliberation on extending protections to prevent more homelessness in L.A. County, Barger addressed the importance of also extending support to mom-and-pop property owners mired in debt and in danger of losing their properties due to unpaid back rent from their tenants.
“In some cases, extending renter protections has had a negative impact on property owners, and we can’t continue extending emergency tenant protections at their expense,” said Barger. “I’ve heard loud and clear from my constituents who are property owners who are struggling to meet their own utility, mortgage and property insurance payments. They aren’t exempt from meeting their financial responsibilities, so it’s high time we offer small property owners relief as well. We can’t turn our backs on them.”
“I have supported the COVID-19 tenant protections since I joined the board and a phase out to the protections aligning with the stages of the pandemic,” said Mitchell. “In the past 24 months, the key issue I hear from both tenants and landlords is the back rent. Supporting a rent relief program utilizing the American Rescue Plan Act, COVID-19 recovery dollars, will prevent tenants from falling into homelessness and landlords losing their properties. This motion addresses the fundamental issue of funding for back rent in order to keep people housed.”
The motion builds upon the board’s prior directive to Los Angeles County’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to design a landlord assistance program to help small property owners with their costs.
The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs recommendation was to set aside a total of $5M to help qualifying landlords with expenses directly related to the non-payment of rent from their current tenants and further recommended individual relief awards should be capped at $30,000 per property owner.
This newly approved motion expands the recommended $5M allocation to $45M for small property owners and specifies up to $30,000 can be provided per unit. Property owners who accept the relief funds must agree to not evict their tenants for non-payment of rent.