Looming evictions and calls for rent cancellations

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Tenants and organizers demonstrate outside Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles early September, calling for a ban on evictions and the cancellation of rent ahead of a looming eviction crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Nicolas Emmons.

A UCLA study found that around 449,000 renters in LA County were unemployed because of COVID-19 and had no income to pay their rent. Nearly all of these tenants are vulnerable to eviction. 

However, so far, there have been fewer evictions than expected. From April through the end of June, landlords filed an average of 350 eviction cases per month, down nearly 90% from last year, according to preliminary data from the LA Superior Court.  

“All the laws that protect [renters] are … a patchwork of laws that is very hard to understand. So stress — the sense of housing insecurity — is way up for people,” said Elena Popp, executive director of the Eviction Defense Network. 

Meanwhile, many tenants and organizers are pushing for a full cancellation of rent.