Landlord Groups File Lawsuit Against Los Angeles County Over Illegal Eviction Moratorium

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) and the California Apartment Landlords Association, Inc. (AOA) today announced that they have filed a joint lawsuit in Los County Superior Court. Angeles for the State of California on behalf of their members and county rental housing providers seeking a preliminary injunction against the Los Angeles County residential eviction moratorium. The move comes on the heels of Los Angeles County’s recent extension of “temporary” protections against COVID-19-related residential evictions through June 30, 2023.

On January 25, 2022, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to extend its “temporary” eviction moratorium in three separate phases, leaving eviction protections in place until June 30, 2023. These protections against the same or similar “temporary” residential evictions have been put in place. place since approximately March 2020, and in establishing these protections, the county asserted jurisdiction not only over unincorporated areas, but also over most of the county’s incorporated towns.

In their joint complaint, the AOA and AAGLA said there was no rational basis for extending the moratorium on evictions and creating what is, in effect, a “rental vacancy” that not only allowed tenants in the county to remain housed without paying rent for up to two years, but which has now been extended by the county until June 2023. The joint lawsuit relies on the county’s authorized self-certification practice which allows tenants to simply state that they have been affected by COVID-19 without offering any kind of proof. or be required to provide a COVID-19 impact statement under penalty of perjury to their owner. According to the lawsuit, the U.S. Supreme Court in a recent decision declared self-certification “programs” like the one in Los Angeles County unconstitutional:

“In August 2021, the United States Supreme Court in Chrysafis v. Marks (2021) 141 S. Ct. 2482, granted an injunctive relief against nearly identical self-certification provisions in New York State’s law prohibiting COVID-19-related evictions. Under the law imposed by the Court, ‘[i]a tenant self-certifies his financial difficulties, [the state law] generally prevents an owner from contesting this certification and denies them a hearing. Under due process principles, the Court found that the scheme “violates the Court’s long-held teaching that ‘no man can be judge in his own case’, in accordance with the Due Process Clause.”

The joint suit further asserts that the county’s moratorium violates substantive due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it is not a rational way to advance the legitimate interests of the State. The joint lawsuit seeks an order overturning the county’s eviction ban.

AOA President Jeffrey Faller said, “For nearly two years, over 700 days, certain tenants took advantage of the situation created by the county order and were able to waive payment of rent alleging that they have been affected by COVID-19 without any burden of proof. The unsubstantiated “financial impacts” of any tenant self-certifying are woefully vague. Tenants are simply allowed to decide unilaterally not to pay rent based on the facts and circumstances they determine. Faller further commented, “Eviction bans such as the county’s simply encourage unscrupulous tenants not to pay rent with overdue rental debts that continually accumulate and which, in most cases, will never be refunded. How could this create a favorable situation for tenants, let alone housing providers? The eviction moratoriums are unfair to residents who have worked hard and sacrificed to pay their rent. Many of our landlord members have been forced to sit idly by as their tenants have waived rent for months and in some cases years while making major purchases of luxury automobiles or expensive vacations. From the start, the “solution” should have been rent relief provided by our government, not a “free” on rent. »

AAGLA Executive Director Daniel Yukelson said, “Nearly two years into this pandemic, with state and federal eviction bans now having expired long ago, business has returned to normal and following a major event like the Super Bowl here in the Los Angeles area. , it is absurd that the county is continuing to impose its eviction ban which will remain in effect until June 30, 2023. No other business other than the rental housing business has been singled out and forced to provide services for free. Mr. Yukelson further stated, “The county’s ongoing eviction ban and its recent expansion provide benefits to tenants far beyond those that had been provided by the state or federal government through their protections. now expired, and therefore the county is exposed to significant liability risk. for damages related to his ban on deportation.

The AAGLA and AOA asserted that the county’s moratorium went far beyond what is necessary by providing benefits to county tenants at the expense of all landlords, especially small businesses, “mom” landlords and pop” who make up most rental property owners. in the county. AAGLA Executive Director Daniel Yukelson said, “Rental landlords across the county have suffered financially for nearly 2 years without rent collection, while being held to various ongoing financial obligations.”

AOA President Jeffrey Faller further noted, “Homeowners across the county continue to suffer under the county ordinance with no help or assistance of any kind offered to help homeowners who are clearly struggling. financial. Despite the availability of state rent relief funds, many landlords find that tenants are simply not eligible for relief, approvals and funding are slow to non-existent, and many tenants are uncooperative. not or have moved. This is a big problem and a heavy financial burden that has been placed on the backs of small landowners.

AAGLA Board Chair Cheryl Turner said, “The county’s use of the pandemic to wield unfettered power and isolate rental property owners to subsidize the livelihoods of others, interfere with contractual relationships between landlords and their tenants and removing all tools and flexibility to collect rent or make rent refunds are clear violations of the law. None of us have sacrificed or risked our capital and our livelihoods just to provide private welfare – that is the government’s job to do.

Commenting on the severe financial hardship faced by housing providers as a result of county moratoriums, AOA Founder Daniel Faller said, “Due to county-imposed restrictions and interference with the contractual relationships of our housing providers with tenants, many housing providers today are struggling to make ends meet and losing their properties to foreclosure After months of non-payment of rent, tenants will have no way to pay off what could surely amount to mountains of rental debt, particularly if they are struggling to pay a single month’s rent.It is a mistake to think that landlords will recover the outstanding rent owed to them other than maybe pennies on the dollar.

AAGLA and AOA are represented by attorney Douglas J. Dennington of Rutan & Tucker LLP of Irvine. Mr Dennington said: “More recent decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States are very favorable to our case, in which the Court granted an injunction for almost identical self-certification provisions contained in state law. of New York prohibiting evictions related to COVID-19”.

On June 11, 2020, AAGLA filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles on behalf of its members and the city’s housing providers, asserting, among other things, a constitutional challenge to the city’s eviction moratoria. and rent increases. Following the refusal of the United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, AAGLA filed a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. Recently, the AAGLA announced that it had been notified that the Supreme Court had ordered the City of Los Angeles to respond to its petition for certiorari by March 2022. Executive Director Daniel Yukelson said, “Well that this development is potentially very positive, we are extremely careful to I have not read much on this subject since the Court could very well still reject the request even after the answer of the City. However, it’s at least a good sign because the US Supreme Court doesn’t ask for answers to most motions.

Founded in 1917, the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles seeks to promote the highest levels of professionalism within the multifamily rental housing industry. It offers a wide range of services and benefits that meet the needs of rental housing providers of all sizes, including educational seminars and events for members, expert operational advice and an extensive library of rental agreements. and other forms necessary to successfully own and manage rental properties. . The Association also serves as a powerful advocate and lobbyist for rental housing providers at the local, county, state and federal levels. For more information, visit: www.aagla.org/legalfund.

The California Apartment Owners Association, Inc. (AOA) is the largest individually organized group of apartment owners in California. AOA members benefit from free downloadable forms, access to advisors who provide free advice on property management, a selection of low-cost tenants, the most widely circulated apartment industry magazine State, Million Dollar Trade Shows and many more member benefits. At the start of the pandemic, AOA decided to provide free COVID forms and free educational content on YouTube to members and non-members as a sign of solidarity. AOA is committed to supporting rental property owners with the resources needed to make the business of providing housing more profitable, easier and more enjoyable.

Comments are closed.