People pass a “for rent” sign outside an apartment complex on Ocean Boulevard. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a complex countywide eviction moratorium Tuesday that will phase in and phase out protections over time, but could protect the poorest households through June 2023.

Supervisors voted to approve an extension just days before its current moratorium was set to expire. The new protections will come in three phases, with county residents making 80% of the area median income, which is $80,000 for a family of four in Los Angeles County, according to the state department of housing and community development.

While Long Beach had for a time been setting its own rules or aligning with the state for what evictions were allowed or banned during the pandemic, it more recently aligned with the county. The changes will apply to Long Beach renters, the city attorney’s office said Wednesday.

Phase One of the extension will see all renter protections reinstated, including those barring no-fault evictions for reasons like renovating units, and will prohibit evictions filed for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 hardships.

Those protections will also include anti-harassment and retaliation provisions for both residential and commercial tenants and will last through May.

In June, Phase Two begins and some of the protections provided in Phase One, like barring evictions tied to owners moving into properties only if the tenant was not financially affected by the pandemic, will go away. Landlords will also be able to evict tenants who deny them entry into a unit unless the attempted entry constitutes harassment.

In this phase, renters making 80% of the area median income or less are able to self-certify that they have a financial hardship and could have until December 2023 to pay any rent payments missed through the end of this year.

Other protections like those barring evictions for unauthorized occupants or pets would also remain through this phase.

Phase Three, which begins in January 2023 and ends six months later, will continue to protect those tenants who self-certified as being in a lower income bracket, but all other eviction protections for almost all other tenants will be lifted.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to extend the moratorium Tuesday with Janice Hahn, who represents Long Beach, saying, “I hope my landlords forgive me” before casting her vote.

Supervisor Katherine Barger, the lone opposition vote, asked the board to consider a postponement or forgiveness of property tax payments of landlords who are unable to collect rents, saying the county needed to bear some of the burdens of continuing to extend the eviction moratorium.

Elaine Hutchison, president of the Apartment Association, Southern California Cities, submitted a letter to the board calling for it to oppose the extension in its entirety. She questioned why commercial tenants were seeing their protections largely go away and asked if that was because the economy was “in full swing” and extending it wasn’t necessary.

“The eviction moratorium is not supposed to be used for effective housing policy,” Hutchinson said. “Instead, it was in response to a health crisis… from 2020.”

Hutchinson noted that both California and New York have lifted their policies or let them expire and asked why Los Angeles County has not.

Commercial protections for large companies end Jan. 31 but companies with nine or fewer employees will have their protections extended as well. Larger companies will have until July 31 to pay back-rent while smaller companies will have until the end of January 2023.

The supervisors said in June that their vote to extend the moratorium for those who had applied for rental assistance programs was likely the last time it would move the end date of the ban, however, Tuesday’s vote was the second additional extension approved by the board since September.

LA County landlords can resume some evictions—but there are still strings attached

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.