It has been just two weeks since the City Council voted to approve nearly $3 million to fund a program I authored to create the City’s first-ever Emergency Renter Relief Program, which addresses the very serious crisis of rent gouging and evictions.
In the days and weeks leading up to the passage and signing of AB 1482 by Governor Newsom in early October, there were reports throughout the City, including in my district, of tenants receiving large rent increases and/or eviction notices. In fact, the inspiration for my involvement was hearing about 23 families on Tobias Avenue in Panorama City who were facing evictions. Prior to that, these mostly immigrant families had received large rent increases.
The state law is I think a good one that will provide much-needed protections to low and middle-income renters in Los Angeles. But unfortunately, the bill does not take effect until January 1, 2020.
That oversight created a loophole where some bad landlords have taken advantage and tried to make as much money as possible by raising rents so high that people cannot pay for them, or by giving tenants 60-day notices to vacate under a no-fault eviction process.
The Los Angeles City Council took immediate action to address both issues. We adopted a ban on no-fault evictions before the state law goes into effect, and a week later, on October 30th we created the Emergency Renters Relief Fund. Our goal is to assist low-income residents who are not just living paycheck to paycheck, but living day-to-day, and are one life emergency away from possibly becoming homeless. Whether we help one family or 40, or 100, this effort is worthwhile because we know it is much cheaper to keep people in their homes than it is to build new housing.
At this time of year, in the middle of the holidays, we want to do all we can to assist them. It would be devastating to find yourself out on the street during the Holiday Season. If you are a low-income renter and had your rent increased by more than 8% since March 15, 2019, you could be eligible for some relief.
Our partners for this program include the City’s Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA), our 15 Family Source Centers throughout the City, and the Housing Rights Center. People can get more information about the program in English, Spanish, Armenian, Russian and Korean at HCIDLA.org, including eligibility requirements, and a full list of all 15 Family Source Centers in the City. You can also download the application from my website, Nury-Martinez.com/rent_relief
Once you fill it out the form, bring it to your closest Family Source Center and staff will assist you. Besides our program, Family Source Centers also provide a wide range of resources helpful to low-income parents, families, and seniors.
You can also contact HCIDLA’s hotline at (866) 557-RENT (7368).