Your Rights as a Tenant in Los Angeles County

If you are unable to pay your rent because of COVID-19 financial hardship, or are being threatened with eviction for any reason, do not move out of your home. Only a court can order you to leave. You have rights!

State of California

On August 31, 2020, the State of California passed tenant protections under Assembly Bill 3088. These protections prevent landlords from evicting tenants before February 1, 2021 without a valid reason or for any rent not paid between March 4 - January 31, 2021 due to loss of income or increased expenses associated with COVID-19. Although this law protects you from being evicted for not paying rent, it does not cancel rent.

If you owe rent for any months from March 2020 to August 2020, you must submit a declaration form to your landlord for any months you do not pay. You should do this via regular mail with a proof of mailing and via email. Once submitted, your landlord cannot legally evict you for not paying rent.

If you can’t pay rent for any month from September 2020 to January 2021, you must submit a declaration form to your landlord for each month you cannot pay in full. The form must state that you cannot pay your rent because of a loss of income due to COVID-19. You must also pay a minimum of 25% of the total rent owed, by January 31, 2021. To satisfy this requirement, you can either pay 25% each month, or you can make one payment as long as you pay the 25% of the total rent before January 31, 2021. While you have the options of paying 25% each month or in one large sum in January, we highly recommend that you pay each month. When paying rent you must always note on the payment itself which month it is for. For example:

  • 25% of rent for September 2020 for YOUR ADDRESS; OR
  • 25% of rent for the months of September, October, November December 2020 and January 2021 for YOUR ADDRESS.

As long as these requirements are met, your landlord cannot legally evict you. Starting on March 1, 2021, your landlord can sue you in small claims court for your unpaid rent.

If you have not made rent payments for these months, your landlord must issue you a 15-day notice and provide a blank copy of the declaration form for you to return. While, you are not legally obligated to submit the declaration form until the landlord gives you this 15-day notice, we recommend that you fill it out by the 15th of each month and return it. Click here for a copy of the declaration form.

While these laws protect you from eviction, it doesn’t mean your landlord won’t still try to evict you. If you receive an eviction lawsuit you must file an answer to the lawsuit. If you receive a notice of any kind or paperwork from the court, do not move out of your home until a court orders you to! Seek legal assistance now to understand your rights and successfully respond to an eviction in court.

Find a Legal Service Provider

If you are experiencing threats or harassment, do not move out of your home until a court orders you to! Sign up for a free workshop to learn more about emergency protections and your rights and get connected to resources that can keep you in your home.

Find a Workshop

For immediate legal help you can also call 1-888-694-0040.

Los Angeles County

In addition to the state laws above, local protections may also apply to you. Each case is different and will need to be analyzed ​by an attorney, but generally, if you are a tenant in Unincorporated Los Angeles County, or live in a city that has not enacted its own ​emergency tenant protection ordinance, the following ​ applies:

  1. There are restrictions on:
    1. No-fault evictions, unless based on a nuisance that creates health and safety issues;
    2. Evictions for non-payment of rent for tenants who can't afford to pay because of COVID-19; and
    3. Evictions based on unauthorized occupants, pets, or nuisance related to the pandemic (e.g. if a tenant has to take in a family member or pet and there is more noise as a result.)
    Tenants facing eviction for these reasons have a defense in court. These restrictions took effect March 4, 2020 if you live in unincorporated LA and cities covered by the L.A. County ordinance.
  2. There is a rent freeze on ​residential housing and mobile homes covered by the Los Angeles County Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which applies to multi-family housing built before February 1995 in unincorporated areas of LA Count​y. Any rent increase effective after March 4, 2020 is invalid. Landlords also may not impose new passthroughs (charging tenants to make up the cost of various fees or improvements.)

The Los Angeles County protections are currently in place until September 30, 2020. Each month the Board of Supervisors decides whether to extend them another month.

To be protected against eviction for not paying rent, you must notify to your landlord that you are experiencing COVID-19 related hardship and cannot pay your rent within 7 days of the rent being due. (We highly recommend you do so in writing to better protect yourself. Click here to download the required statement.) If possible, this should be accompanied by proof that supports your claim, but it is not required under the law.

The County encourages landlords and tenants to agree to a repayment plan, but we recommend you seek legal help before entering into any such plan. The order explicitly bans landlords and their agents from harassing or intimidating tenants based on these issues.

If you’ve received a notice from the court, or from your landlord, it’s important you immediately connect with a legal service provider who can confirm your rights based on where you live and help you respond to the court notice and keep you in your home.

Find a Legal Service Provider

If you are experiencing threats or harassment, do not move out of your home until a court orders you to! Sign up for a free workshop to learn more about emergency protections and your rights and get connected to resources that can keep you in your home.

Find a Workshop

For immediate legal help you can also call 1-888-694-0040.

For information about L.A. County's Temporary Eviction Moratorium, visit dcba.lacounty.gov/noevictions

Other Cities within the County

You may have more protections depending on where you live.

There are 88 cities in the County of Los Angeles and approximately half have their own protections, including the City of Los Angeles.

Stay Housed L.A. County has your back!

To learn more about your city’s protections, read the Housing Rights Center’s Guide to Covid-19 Tenant Protections.

Attend a workshop!

You can also find out more about your rights by participating in a tenant workshop.

Find a Workshop

If you’ve received a notice from the court, or from your landlord, it’s important you immediately connect with a legal service provider who can confirm your rights based on where you live and help you respond to the court notice and keep you in your home.

Find a Legal Service Provider

For immediate legal help you can also call 1-888-694-0040.

National

On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a federal order that prevents tenants from being evicted for not paying rent or without ​a valid reason (known as "just cause”) that is the fault of the tenant. The CDC Order is currently in effect until December 31, 2020.

Most tenants in Los Angeles County have equal or stronger protections under AB3088, the Los Angeles County protections described above or under their own city protections. Given how difficult it may be to meet the CDC requirements, before applying for protection under the CDC Order you should consult an attorney, as it may not be necessary.

If you’ve received a notice from the court, or from your landlord, it’s important you immediately connect with a legal service provider who can confirm your rights based on where you live and help you respond to the court notice and keep you in your home.

Find a Legal Service Provider

If you are experiencing threats or harassment, do not move out of your home until a court orders you to! Sign up for a free workshop to learn more about emergency protections and your rights and get connected to resources that can keep you in your home.

Find a Workshop

The CARES Act also provides tenant protections, but only to tenants living in Public Housing, other federally subsidized buildings or those who have a Section 8 voucher. It also applies to tenants whose landlords have federally insured mortgages.

For immediate legal help you can also call 1-888-694-0040.

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