LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A $10 million eviction defense fund to help Los Angeles renters fight illegal pandemic evictions is in the final stages of approval.

The Los Angeles City Council authorized a plan Wednesday for a nearly $10 million COVID-19 Eviction Defense Fund, which was proposed by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell and Paul Koretz.

The city had passed emergency orders banning evictions if renters couldn’t pay due to COVID-19 earlier this year, and there are also state and federal mandates offering protections. But the evictions have continued in spite of the COVID-19 moratorium.

“There are landlords out there who are trying to illegally evict tenants and we have to protect them no matter what. And the best way to do so is by providing legal assistance,” Martinez said at a news conference.

Tenants who are at 80% of the area median income or below will be eligible for the program, which will include legal representation in responding to three-day notices to vacate, negotiating agreements between tenants and landlords, and assisting short-term renters.

The legal defense program is expected to ramp up in the next few months with services to last through 2021. For information on the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction Defense Fund, call 1-866-557-7368.

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