Anaheim renters may still get their eviction protections extended for another month, after city council members found a new way to try and vote it through today.
Editor’s Note: As Orange County’s only nonprofit & nonpartisan newsroom, Voice of OC brings you the best, most comprehensive local Coronavirus news absolutely free. No ads, no paywalls. We need your help. Please, click here to make a tax-deductible donation today to support your local news.
A simple majority of the City Council could vote to direct acting City Manager Greg Garcia to extend the current ban on evictions past this month through his emergency authority, after council members last week lacked a supermajority vote to issue their own emergency ordinance extending the renter protections.
Council members Trevor O’Neil and Lucille Kring were the only ones opposed to Mayor Harry Sidhu’s proposal last week to extend the city’s emergency evictions ban order enacted in late March. But because an emergency order coming directly from the City Council needed a six-vote supermajority, the extension on the ban failed to stick.
This time, Sidhu is proposing the council vote today to “direct” the city manager to act through his own emergency powers to extend the evictions ban, which would only need a simple majority vote — something that the council doesn’t need O’Neil’s nor Kring’s approval to achieve.
If the vote today goes through, council members would be directing the city manager to extend the evictions ban until June 30, 2020.
For renters who haven’t already agreed on repayment terms with their landlords, the back rent due under the extension would have to be repaid in four equal installments, in monthly intervals, beginning 30 days after the extended order expires.
The council could opt to vote on the evictions ban extension as a regular ordinance — something that also needs a simple majority vote, as opposed to a supermajority vote.
But staff in their report say because of a technicality regarding the timeline of regular ordinances taking effect, there would be a gap period between the time the original evictions ban expires on May 31 and the time the new extension takes effect, “causing confusion for both tenants and landlords.”
In pushing for an extension on the ban — which is for people who can’t make rent due to the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic — Sidhu said many renters in the city need at least one more month.
On the issue, Sidhu formed a rare alliance with Councilman Jose Moreno. The two often find themselves on opposite sides of many city policy discussions
The mayor last week also backed Moreno’s proposal to have city staff look for federal and state money for landlords, but because it was attached to the evictions ban extension during that meeting, it also failed to pass for lack of a supermajority.
Kring and O’Neil sided with landlords, arguing they’re less shielded from the crisis than their tenants are.
“I think we’ve done enough and I won’t extend it out anymore,” O’Neil said at the last meeting. “I know that there was a flurry of unemployment claims coming in and those have started to pay. I think we’re at a point where the safety net’s there.”
Kring last week said she had been getting numerous calls from landlords on the issue. “They’re dying.”
From the coronavirus pandemic — and Orange County cities’ subsequent emergency legislation to protect working-class renters as local economies take hits and people are put out of work — the relationship between landlords and renters has further strained.
In other cities like Santa Ana and Costa Mesa, landlord groups have emerged to challenge city officials’ emergency renter protections like eviction bans and freezes on rent increases.
Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporting fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @photherecord.