Los Angeles – While Abundant Housing LA applauds Governor Gavin Newsom’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak in California, we join housing advocates across the state in urging the Governor to take further steps to protect renters from evictions. 

The executive order passed down by Governor Newsom last week simply does not go far enough. It has three major limitations:

  • Although landlords cannot evict tenants until June 1, they can still start eviction proceedings upon nonpayment of rent beginning today, April 1.
  • The order does not clarify how much time the renter gets to pay back missed rent.
  • The order requires renters  to prove that their hardship is a direct result of the coronavirus crisis. But at this point, everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The state and federal governments have already taken aggressive actions to protect homeowners during this crisis, and we believe that renters should receive the same protections from their government. Rather than requiring renters to jump through hoops to access these life-saving measures, we should be simplifying and streamlining the process of accessing rental assistance. Furthermore, we agree with State Senator Scott Wiener that statewide actions benefit both renters and landlords, likewise minimizing the legal processes required of the latter in our current patchwork of measures. 

We therefore call on Governor Newsom to implement clear, sweeping measures, including a statewide ban on evictions until after the state of emergency is lifted. At that point, the public health emergency may well be over, but many working families will still be facing crises of their own, scrambling to secure their financial footing. Families should also not be required to prove hardship. Additionally, renters should be given a period of one year to pay back rent, and there should be no rent increases until after the emergency ends, a measure already taken by Mayor Garcetti right here in Los Angeles. 

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Los Angeles serves as a reminder that housing is critical to ensuring public health. While the solution to California’s housing crisis lies in sustained housing production, renters also need protection now. We urge Governor Newsom to take further steps to protect renters during this critical time