From the Field: Los Angeles Enacts Emergency Moratorium on No-Cause Evictions

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a bold measure to halt evictions due to extraordinarily high rent increases and mass displacement occurring in the city. The legislation protects renters who are being pushed out prior to the onset of California’s statewide rent-increase limits for apartment buildings older than 15 years. Renters who are currently in their homes and are not subject to a previously expired 60-day notice to vacate will be allowed to stay.

The emergency moratorium is needed because many landlords are rushing to empty apartments prior to new rent-increase restrictions imposed by Assembly Bill 1482 (AB 1482), which Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed into law on October 22. AB 1482 will restrict landlords to annual rent increases of 5% plus the rate of inflation. The new law also bans no-cause evictions for renters who have been in their homes for more than one year. Landlords will still be able to evict tenants for a just cause, such as non-payment of rent or destruction of property. AB 1482 does not take effect until January, though, leaving many landlords eager to set a new, higher baseline rent from which they can proceed with the annual 5% increases. Landlords also want fewer renters who have been in their homes for more than a year and are protected by the ban on no-cause evictions. The Los Angeles moratorium ordinance will expire when AB 1482 takes effect at the beginning of next year. 

Under current law, Los Angeles landlords can evict renters for no reason, simply by choosing not to renew the lease at its expiration, as long as they produce a 60-day notice to vacate. The moratorium, introduced by Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Curren Price, will effectively cancel all notices to vacate that have not yet expired. The emergency ordinance applies to all buildings constructed prior to 2005.