Los Angeles Tenants Demand Urgent Action on Back Rent Relief Amidst Measure ULA Funding Uncertainty and Shortfall
LA Tenants’ Rights Groups Urge Mayor to Act on Back Rent Relief as Measure ULA Funding Faces Uncertainty and Shortfall.
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Measure ULA Back Rent Relief Plan Faces Legal Challenges and Funding Questions as Tenants Press for Urgent Solutions
Tenants’ rights groups in Los Angeles have appealed to Mayor Karen Bass and the City Council to cancel millions of dollars in back rent before the approaching deadline of August 1. In response, Mayor Bass and Council member Nithya Raman announced that help is on the way through the Measure ULA wealth transfer tax. The council’s Housing and Homelessness Committee will discuss an $18.4 million short-term emergency assistance program at its August 2 meeting, aimed at providing eligible low-income tenants with up to six months of owed back rent due to economic hardship. Additionally, a $23 million Eviction Defense Program will be up for consideration to offer legal support for tenants.
However, concerns have arisen regarding the feasibility of these funding initiatives. According to TheRealDeal, the mayor mentioned that the city budget had set aside approximately $20 million in short-term emergency funds from ULA money. Nevertheless, the use of ULA funds is currently subject to pending litigation, with court hearings scheduled in September to potentially invalidate Measure ULA. This uncertainty has prompted caution from Matt Szabo, the city’s administrative officer, who advised against spending ULA money until the court rulings are finalized.
Projected Revenues from ULA Tax Fall Short of Expectations, Posing Challenges for Emergency Assistance Programs and Eviction Defense as City Aims to Inform At-Risk Renters of Housing Support
Furthermore, the projected revenues from the ULA tax have fallen short of initial estimates, with expectations revised down to $672 million from July 1 of this year through June 30, 2024, compared to the original forecast of nearly $1 billion, according to reports. In light of this, the success of the proposed emergency assistance and eviction defense programs hinges on resolving the legal challenges and addressing the funding shortfall.
To protect tenants from eviction, the statement from Bass and Raman highlights state laws prohibiting eviction for tenants who provided a declaration of COVID hardship to landlords between March 2020 and August 2020, or those who provided such a declaration and paid at least 25 percent of their rent from September 1, 2020, to September 20, 2021.
In addition to these measures, the city officials have also announced a new public information campaign aimed at informing at-risk renters about available city housing programs. The success of these initiatives will depend on the city’s ability to navigate the legal challenges surrounding ULA funds and ensure sufficient resources to support tenants facing economic hardship.