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Scott Steepleton, Editor
7:55 am PDT July 7, 2021

Renters in Malibu who got behind on payments because of the coronavirus lockdown have been given extra time before an eviction can start.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to extend the Los Angeles County Temporary Eviction Moratorium through Sept. 30.

First put into effect in March 2020, the moratorium bans evictions for residential and commercial tenants, and mobile home space renters. It prohibits no-fault evictions, evictions for unauthorized occupants, pets, nuisances, or for tenants who reasonably deny entry to a landlord, if related to COVID-19.

In addition to clarifying that, effective March 4, 2020, “tenants have an affirmative defense in unlawful detainer actions and any other civil action for the collection of unpaid rent, if (the) tenant was unable to pay rent during the timeframe from March 4, 2020 through the end of the Moratorium period, due to financial impacts from COVID-19,” the motion also instructs county counsel, working with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and the courts, to report back in 30 days “on the feasibility and impact of requiring property owners to apply for rental assistance before taking legal action or an action to recover rental debt against a tenant who has been financially impacted by COVID-19.”

“By adopting deliberate, proactive strategies, we have minimized evictions during this once-in-a-century pandemic,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who authored the motion. “Our responsibility now is to phase out this moratorium in a way that ensures we don’t sacrifice our hard-won success keeping families in their homes, while thoughtfully easing rules on property owners and returning to normal.”