PRESS RELEASE: City Council Passes Rent & Mortgage Forgiveness Resolution

LOS ANGELES - In a series of votes to protect renters in Los Angeles from homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis, the Los Angeles City Council approved two pieces of legislation co-authored by Councilmembers Mike Bonin and David Ryu today - formally endorsing the “Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act” by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D- Mn.), and voting to instruct the city attorney to draft an ordinance extending a freeze on rent increases in rent-stabilized units for a full year after the current state of emergency ends.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 22, 2020

Contact for Councilmember Bonin:

David Graham-Caso

david.grahamcaso@lacity.org

858.945.2203

Contact for Councilmember Ryu:

Mark Pampanin

mark.pampanin@lacity.org

213.407.7616

 

City Council Approves Rent & Mortgage Forgiveness Resolution

LOS ANGELES - In a series of votes to protect renters in Los Angeles from homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis, the Los Angeles City Council approved two pieces of legislation co-authored by Councilmembers Mike Bonin and David Ryu today - formally endorsing the “Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act” by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D- Mn.), and voting to instruct the city attorney to draft an ordinance extending a freeze on rent increases in rent-stabilized units for a full year after the current state of emergency ends.

“To be Safer at Home, you must be able to be at home,” Bonin said. “This a public health crisis, and it is our responsibility to make sure everyone can comply so we can halt the spread of this virus. I’m grateful we took some big steps today to help Angelenos stay housed and healthy.”

“22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the start of this pandemic,” Ryu said. “Many of them live right here in Los Angeles. Working people didn’t cause this pandemic, and they shouldn’t be thrown into unmanageable debt because of it. Enough bailing out the banks and corporations - we need federal support to go directly to the people who are hurting right now, and we need mortgage and rent forgiveness.”

Introduced by Ryu and Bonin, the resolution approved today calls on the federal government to halt mortgage and rent payments during the pandemic, including mortgages held by commercial property owners and small businesses, and forgive any debt accrued by renters and mortgage holders during the pandemic.

The Council also moved forward on an amendment introduced by Councilmember Ryu and seconded by Councilmember Bonin to extend the rent increase freeze for rent-stabilized units to 360 days following the end of the emergency Safer at Home order. The original order from the Mayor froze rent increases on rent-stabilized units for 60 days following the pandemic.

While the Council approved the resolution and the extension freeze on rent increases in rent-stabilized units, the body defeated a series of further protections for renters offered by Bonin and Ryu. The council narrowly rejected an eviction moratorium in Los Angeles, as well as a proposal to prevent debt accumulated during the crisis from causing a wave of evictions once the crisis ends, and an effort to extend rent increase freeze to all residential apartments.

“Angelenos are out of work and running out of options,” Ryu said. “The last thing they should be worried about is a rent increase or eviction notice. Unfortunately, the City Council voted not to move forward on these items - but I am not stopping here. I will work with the State and whoever else necessary to help our majority-renter City stay safer at home.”

“I am extremely disappointed that the Council followed the poor legal advice of the City Attorney’s office, which has consistently opposed eviction prevention measures that have been adopted by other jurisdictions,” Bonin said. “Angelenos demand and deserve aggressive advocacy for their interests, and I intend to keep fighting for them.”

The council rejected the additional Bonin-Ryu measures in a series of 6-7 votes. Bonin and Ryu were joined by Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Paul Koretz, Jose Huizar, and Herb Wesson.

Ryu and Bonin have consistently pushed the city, state, and federal government to be more aggressive on behalf of tenants, homeowners, landlords, and small businesses. Their resolution in support of federal legislation would help all of those groups. The resolution passed today joins similar legislation passed in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and other cities calling for rent and mortgage relief. On April 16th, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, supported by Ryu and Bonin, to cancel rent and mortgage payments nationwide for the duration of the pandemic. Councilmember Ryu has previously called on the federal government to prioritize rent and mortgage forgiveness in a letter sent on April 1st.

Only the federal government has the authority to issue rent and mortgage forgiveness. However, The City Council also approved a motion today to amend the City’s Responsible Banking Ordinance to encourage banks that do business with the City to provide relief to mortgage holders, including rental property mortgage holders and their tenants.

Read the resolution here.

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Assistant City Council President Pro Tempore David E. Ryu represents Los Angeles’ 4th Council District which includes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys. 


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