LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California’s eviction moratorium is set to expire soon, and tenant’s rights activists and local lawmakers are calling on Gov. Newsom to pass an extension, or risk a “tidal wave of evictions.”
Jodi Shilling opened her Northridge dance studio, Relevé, just weeks before businesses were required to shut down.
“All of my money and my savings, everything that we had went into building this facility and we were expecting an influx of new students over the next few months, but we all know that that changed,” she said.
She’s faced months without income, and now she is struggling to pay her rent.
“This facility’s rent is about $20,000 a month, and that is not sustainable for a small business owner with no income coming in,” she said.
She said her landlord has refused to defer her rent unless she agrees to a rent increase.
“After I involved my lawyer, I asked again and they purposed an offer that would make me waive my rights in my lease and I was unwilling to do that,” she said.
It’s not just small business owners who are struggling. A recent study from UCLA found that 365,000 residential renters in L.A. County will face eviction if the moratorium isn’t extended with AB1436. Families with children make up 184,000 of those renters.
“If this bill fails to pass, the consequences will be stark and ugly and nothing short of dystopian,” said councilman Mike Bonin.
The L.A. City Council voted last week to unanimously support AB1436. The bill would extend the eviction moratorium until 15 months after a state or local state of emergency is lifted.
After the moratorium expires, landlords would be encouraged to accept payment plans instead of pursuing eviction, and a tenant’s credit score could not be negatively impacted by rent debt.
The bill also recently added a provision to provide a one year forbearance for landlords with less than four properties and a six month forbearance for those with five or more properties.
Shilling said that’s all the more reason for her landlord to work with her and not against her.
“I have devoted almost my entire life to this,” she said. “I am good at this, and it’s what I love to do. To see this dream fail would shatter me.”
Opponents of extending the eviction moratorium say it doesn’t require tenants to prove economic hardship due to COVID-19. They also say people may take advantage of the system and simply not pay their rent.