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Pasadena’s Eviction Moratorium Amended

Repayment time remains at six months 12 months

Published on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 | 8:28 am

Six members of the Pasadena City Council on Monday voted to amend the city’s eviction moratorium.

The moratorium was amended to also ban landlords from imposing new pass-throughs or charging interest or late fees for unpaid rent during the moratorium period.

The ordinance now will protect tenants of self-storage facilities, and encourages landlords to establish payment plans with tenants that allow partial payments.

Councilmembers Margaret McAustin and Victor Gordo recused themselves from the discussion and the vote. Before the meeting John Kennedy sought advice from City Attorney Michelle Beal Bagneris and voted on the item.

“If people are not working and they cannot pay the rent on the personal storage space, that creates a personal hardship and they are in danger of having their personal possessions locked up or sold off,” said Mayor Terry Tornek.

There was not enough support for new provisions that would have given tenants 12 months to repay back rent and allowed the council to vote to prosecute landlords that refused to follow the ordinance.

The moratorium prohibits landlords from evicting residential tenants for non-payment of rent if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to the financial impacts of COVID-19, or a no-fault eviction, unless necessary for health and safety reasons. The moratorium also prohibits landlords from evicting business tenants for non-payment of rent if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to the financial impacts of COVID-19.

Tenants are required to repay any back rent within six months of the expiration of the emergency period. A landlord may not seek to recover late fees for rent that is delayed due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councilmembers also debated allowing tenants to provide self-certification of their inability to pay. If that amendment would have passed, the city would have developed a self-certification form for local residents to present to landlords. Landlords would have been required to accept the form as sufficient notice.

“If a tenant is a restaurant employee, a day laborer or works in a department store, what proof do you need that the inability to make the monthly rent is caused by the Coronavirus?” said Councilman Steve Madison, who said the current ordinance puts a burden on the tenant to satisfy the landlord.

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