Long Beach just extended its eviction moratorium; here’s what’s new and who qualifies

Long Beach extended its eviction moratorium Tuesday afternoon in a move that will give tenants protections from COVID-19 related evictions through July. It also gives tenants a full year to make up any missed rent payments.

The extension was given final approved in a special joint meeting of the City Council and the Housing Authority that was called before the previous moratorium expired at the end of May. That moratorium now extends through July for residential and some commercial tenants.

Some larger commercial entities aren’t covered: those with more than 500 employees, those that are multi-national entities or those that are publicly traded. Tenants at the Long Beach Airport, Port of Long Beach or those in the city’s Tidelands Area are also excluded.

The ordinance is also still a work in progress. Deputy City Attorney Rich Anthony said it’s likely his office would return to the City Council with further language that could require partial rent payments be made before the July 2021 deadline, but how much tenants could be required to pay has yet to be worked out. Anthony said the council could expect that report back by July.

How does it work?

  • The moratorium does not waive rent payments. It allows renters to put off paying rent that was due between April and the end of July, but any missed or incomplete payments would be due at the end of July 2021.
  • The ordinance covers only eviction notices issued between March 4 and July 31.
  • The ordinance covers only evictions that stem from financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 health crisis. It does not cover other types of evictions.
  • Any eviction notice issued after March 25 must include a notice from the landlord advising tenants of their rights to defer rent under the emergency law.
  • Rent due between April and July are the only months that can be deferred with the balance coming due in July 2021. Regular monthly payments must be made starting in August.
  • Tenants are encouraged, but not required, to make partial payments if they are able. The City Council might soon consider instating a payment plan as an amendment to this ordinance.
  • If a tenant receives an eviction notice, he or she must notify the landlord of an inability to pay immediately by documenting loss of work or other financial impacts due to COVID-19.
  • Documentation can vary from pay stubs reflecting a loss of hours or having to provide childcare to notes from supervisors or doctors showing that a tenant has been forced home or has lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A positive test for COVID-19 is not required as evidence, but a letter from an employer or even the tenants explaining to the landlord that they’re self-isolating could serve as evidence.
  • The categories of commercial tenants that were previously covered by the ordinance but excluded from the new one will still have until the end of November 2020 to make up any missed or incomplete payments in April or May.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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