Economic & Housing Justice

Progress in the Fight for Tenants Rights in LA!

March 2, 2023
By Andres Magaña

On the heels of the passage of a monumental package of permanent tenant protections that will provide low-income tenants in the City of Los Angeles with increased housing stability, protection from unlawful evictions, as well as expanded relocation assistance, our partners in the Right to Counsel, Keep LA Housed, and Stay Housed LA Coalitions scored yet another significant victory for renters this month.

Recently, Liberty Hill joined members of the Right to Counsel - LA and Keep LA Housed Coalition, along with local tenants and housing advocates, on the steps of City Hall to rally around the announcement of a new “Right to Counsel” motion that would ensure free legal representation for low-income tenants threatened with eviction.

According to reports, roughly 97% of tenants who receive eviction notices in LA each year do not have access to an attorney and do not know how to exercise their rights. The motion introduced by Councilmember Nithya Raman and supported by Councilmembers Soto-Martinez, Blumenfield, Hutt, Hernandez and Yaroslavsky would direct the Los Angeles Housing Department to provide recommendations for a “Right to Counsel” ordinance and program that would utilize funding from recently passed Measure ULA to support it.

Measure ULA—which was proudly funded and supported by Liberty Hill and housing justice partners across the city—raises funds through a real estate property tax on property sales of $5 million or more. It will provide over $800 million every year for affordable housing, eviction defense, and tenant outreach and education.

The “Right to Counsel” motion is a significant step forward for low-income renters and housing justice advocates who have been fighting for years to expand housing stability and prevent the most vulnerable Angelenos from falling into homelessness. Liberty Hill has worked with tenant organizations across the city and county to implement Stay Housed LA since August 2020, which has become the largest eviction prevention program in the country. The program provides eviction defense, outreach, and education to low-income tenants about their rights. We know that these interventions work. A right to counsel will expand the services of Stay Housed LA and make them a right for all.

In alignment with Liberty Hill’s Agenda for a Just Future, the announcement of the “Right to Counsel” motion marks yet another step forward in our fight for a roof over every head and to expand tenant rights and housing justice in Los Angeles. Liberty Hill and our community partners have been deeply engaged across both the city and county to help tenants get the assistance they need and advocate for more protections.

The introduction of a Right to Counsel motion comes on the heels of several major victories for tenants in the City and County of Los Angeles. Earlier this year, the City of Los Angeles passed three major permanent tenant protections:

  • Expanded just cause eviction protections for all tenants in Los Angeles that live in a unit for more than six months. Gone are the days when landlords can evict tenants without a valid reason - this protection, going into effect in March, requires landlords to evict tenants for a valid reason.
  • A one-month grace period for tenants who miss up to one month of fair market rent. More tenants across Los Angeles are struggling to make ends meet than ever before. This protection will prevent Angelenos from being evicted for missing just one payment.
  • Stronger relocation assistance for tenants who move due to a large rent increase. Unaffordable rent is a big driver of homelessness and poverty. We need to do everything we can to keep tenants here.

In addition, The County of Los Angeles extended COVID related protections until March 31, 2023. You can learn more about these protections on the Stay Housed LA website.

These victories were only possible thanks to the tireless work of our partners and the many activists, organizers and tenants who have kept up the drumbeat for change and never let the voices of tenants be drowned out by the screams of powerful foes.

We know that with support from our dedicated community of partners, donor activists and supporters, together we can continue to advocate for tenants across Los Angeles and call for policies that protect Angelinos and keep communities housed.