LOS ANGELES – A judge has ruled in favor of tenants regarding two new city renter protection laws against a challenge from a local landlords group.
On Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff denied a motion from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles for a preliminary injunction to halt the enforcement of the pair of ordinances adopted by the City Council aimed at protecting Los Angeles residents from eviction and homelessness. Beckloff also permitted tenant rights groups InnerCity Struggle and Community Power Collective to join the city in the defense of the protections.
The City Council adopted the new permanent tenant protections in February as COVID eviction protections expired. The laws include the Nonpayment Threshold Ordinance, which prohibits evictions based on nonpayment unless the tenant is behind at least one month’s fair market rent, and the Relocation Assistance for Economic Displacement Ordinance, which requires landlords to provide relocation assistance to tenants forced to leave due to a significant rent increase.
The apartment association filed a petition in March 2023 seeking to overturn the ordinances.
Under the ordinances, Los Angeles residents can no longer be evicted for being a little bit short on paying rent, nor will they be forced to move due in response to exorbitant rent increases without moving and relocation expenses.
“The new permanent tenant protections adopted by the L.A. City Council were part of a historic expansion of tenant rights in the city and were designed to help keep thousands of tenants housed in an increasingly unaffordable city,” said Stephano Medina, a Public Counsel attorney.
Esmeralda Negrete, a single mother of three living in Boyle Heights and a full-time caretaker for her youngest with special needs, hailed the ruling.
“For my family, the emergency protections are an important safety net,” said Negrete. “What if my son gets sick again and can’t work? At least with these new protections, they can’t put us out on the streets for falling a little bit behind.”
Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, said the organization filed the preliminary injunction to overturn the two new tenant protection ordinances in the city because “they are in clear violations of state law.”
“Many people liquidated their retirement savings just to keep their buildings afloat while having to deal with tenants who aren’t paying their rent,” Yukelson told City News Service. “These new ordinances that got passed create more layers or risk and for opportunities for owners to be taken advantage of.”
Yukelson said hearings for preliminary injunctions are hard to prevail on because judges “want evidence presented in court before making a decision with respect to one.” The AAGLA will continue to bring forth a case to halt these ordinances, he added.