California eviction moratorium gets five-month extension

Protesters surrounded LA Superior Court, calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to pass an eviction moratorium amid the global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 21, 2020. In January 2021, Newsom extended California’s eviction moratorium through June. Photo by REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Today Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law an extension of California’s eviction moratorium through June. SB-91 allows the state to use more than $2 billion in federal stimulus money to cover 80% of missed rents from low-income tenants dating back to April. To get that money, landlords must forgive the remaining balance not covered by the state, and can't evict tenants.

“The governor's proposal basically empowers landlords to pick and choose which tenants are going to benefit from this program. It's a recipe for disaster or unmitigated discrimination,” says Stephano Medina, a staff attorney at the Eviction Defense Network in LA.

Ari Chazanas is president of Lotus West Properties and manages more than 500 units mostly in West LA. He says he doesn’t see SB-91 as a win for landlords.

“We would like to just be able to work out some sort of plan with each tenant on a case by case basis … and hopefully come to some sort of solution that doesn't involve the City of Los Angeles or the state telling us what we can and cannot do,” Chazanas says.