LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A group of property owners is taking the city of Los Angeles to federal court over the city ban on evictions and rent increases due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the complaint filed by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, the ordinances violate apartment owners’ rights under the U.S. and California constitutions by allowing tenants who have the means to pay their rent to ignore their contractual obligations.

While the plaintiffs say they are sympathetic to tenants who have suffered hardship due to the pandemic, they are seeking a court order invalidating the eviction ban and rent freeze.

The eviction ban “was not well thought out and will very likely expose the city to hundreds of millions of dollars in liability (if not more) to landlords and property owners,” alleged Earle Vaughan, AAGLA’s board president. “While public agencies understandably feel compelled to `do something to help’ in times of crisis, the city’s urgent actions are not well thought out and are causing much more damage than good.”

There was no immediate comment from the L.A. City Attorney’s Office.

Mayor Eric Garcetti signed off on the city council ordinance back in March.

Under the city guidelines, landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for unpaid rent due to lost jobs, wages or other conditions affecting them related to the pandemic.

The rules give tenants a year following the expiration of the state of emergency to re-pay their rent. Renters are also allowed under the city guidelines to sue their landlords over any anti-eviction violations.

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