A "For Lease" sign is posted outside a house available for rent in Los Angeles on March 15, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is encouraging small landlords to apply for aid through the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, with the application portal open until 6 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Those with 12 or fewer rental units qualify to receive up to 6 months of tenants’ unpaid rent through the Measure United to House LA (ULA), nicknamed the “mansion tax.”
The $18.4 million plan funds 11 different programs with a 4 percent tax on homes and commercial real estate in Los Angeles sold between $5 to $10 million, and 5.5 percent tax on those sold for over $10 million.
“We must continue to do all that we can to prevent Angelenos from falling into homelessness and that includes supporting small landlords and housing providers,” Ms. Bass said in an Oct. 24 announcement on the city’s website.
While the program is designed to help small landlords, some industry experts say it’s not enough, especially since only landlords with paid off mortgages qualify, according to Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.
As part of Measure ULA, $23 million is also going toward a program assisting tenants with legal services to help challenge evictions.
“Unfortunately, a larger part of the money the city’s allocating is going to provide private attorneys to defend tenants who are facing eviction rather than helping tenants to pay their rent. Well over 80% of eviction cases are due to non-payment of rent,” he said.
Mr. Yukelson told The Epoch Times the city should instead use the money toward assisting renters to pay unpaid rent, since many landlords are at risk of leaving the rental business after the moratorium on evictions during the pandemic left many without funds.
A recent article by the Wall Street Journal
reported there could be more than $1 billion in unpaid back rent in the greater Los Angeles area, citing research from National Equity Atlas, which used Census surveys as the basis for their estimates.
“When you look at what the city’s providing the landlords and what they’re providing in rent subsidies to renters and compare it to the over $1 billion of COVID rental debt that’s still owed ... all this pales in comparison. It’s really a drop in the bucket compared to the losses that property owners have suffered these past three plus years,” Mr. Yukelson said.
According to estimates by the apartment association, landlords have also lost about $3 billion in rent increases in Los Angeles County due to COVID-era policies, he said.