By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday adopted an ordinance that would prevent landlords from harassing tenants by eliminating services, withholding repairs or refusing to accept rent payments.

The Anti-Harassment of Tenant Ordinance, which has been under discussion since February of 2017, passed unanimously 13-0. It now goes to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti for his signature.

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The ordinance required unanimous approval to be adopted on its first consideration. If it had not, it would have needed a second vote next week, when at least eight council members would have had to vote to approve it.

This also comes after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors Tuesday extended the eviction moratorium to Sept. 30. Gov. Gavin Newsom has also said California will pay off all past-due rent that accumulated because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The draft ordinance defines tenant harassment in several ways, including reducing or eliminating housing services, such as parking, failing to perform necessary repairs and maintenance, abusing the right to access a rental unit, threatening a tenant with physical harm, misrepresenting to a tenant that he or she is required to vacate the unit, refusing to accept rent payments and inquiring about a tenant’s immigration status.

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Under the draft ordinance, if harassment occurs, a tenant who prevails in court may be awarded compensation for damages, rent refunds for reduction in housing services, reasonable compensation for attorney’s fees and more. A landlord might also be fined up to $5,000 if the tenant is older than 65 years or disabled.

Several people called into a Housing Committee meeting on April 14 to relate stories of being harassed by their landlords, including one woman who said her landlord attempted to drive tenants out by removing the entire roof.

Landlords also called in to oppose the ordinance, with some saying tenant harassment is exaggerated and other saying that landlords also need protection from tenant harassment.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)