To help residents still impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Long Beach City Council voted to approve an extension of its rent freeze.
On Tuesday, May 26, in a special meeting held by teleconference, the council hosted a joint meeting with the Long Beach Housing Authority to vote on two measures with the intent of helping renters.
The first vote was a unanimous vote to temporarily suspend the termination of the Housing Assistance Payments from March 4 to July 31, 2020.
Next, the city council voted in favor of an emergency ordinance that temporarily prohibits the eviction of tenants who are unable to pay due to a loss of income from the health crisis.
Under the new ordinance, renters will now be able to ask for a suspension of rent from their landlord or agent if they can provide proof that they are unable to pay due to COVID-19.
The reason for non-payment can include job loss, a cut in work hours, loss of business income, or out-of-pocket medical expenses.
If a tenant can prove they are unable to pay for these reasons, they cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent between March 4, 2020, through July 31, 2020.
However, the new ordinance also includes new exemptions for tenants and sub-tenants that are multi-national companies or have more than 500 employees– who will have to repay any back rent by November 2020.
The new extension also provides additional time for tenants to repay any rent that was missed during the City’s Safer-at-home order is in effect.
The original deadline for repayment was set for November 2020, but under the new ordinance, renters will have until July 31, 2021, to repay any suspended rent.
As the ordinance stands now, it does not include a repayment plan for tenants. Still, Rich Anthony, the deputy city attorney, stated that his department expects to have various options for the City Council to vote on soon.
In his comments, Mayor Robert Garcia asked residents to reach out and provide their input on the repayment plan before it goes to vote.