Support directed at small landlords struggling to pay property taxes or mortgages.

With state rent relief applications now closed, County officials are preparing for possible financial fallout from rent that remains unpaid and are turning an eye towards struggling landlords.

In particular, officials are seeking to support landlords who are unable to pay their property taxes or mortgage as a result of the County’s tenant protections during the pandemic. 

As the April 11 delinquency date for property taxes approaches, the County has opened up an online portal for landlords to request a penalty cancellation.

“Landlords who have not been able to collect rent may not be in a position to meet their property tax obligations,” said Keith Knox, Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector. “Under State law, my office has the authority to consider requests under these circumstances to cancel penalties, costs, interest and fees associated with late property tax payments.”

In order to have their penalties waived, landlords must fill out a form at https://ttc.lacounty.gov/penalty-cancellation-request-2 and specifically detail how eviction moratoriums or other tenant protections have resulted in their inability to meet their property tax obligations. 

While the blanket moratorium against evictions for nonpayment of rent has expired, and state law now blocks LA County’s protections, there is still one ongoing and important tenant protection:

Landlords who pursue evictions for unpaid rent could have their court order overturned if the tenant demonstrates an ability to pay rent owed with funds from a pending rent relief claim. State rent applications closed on March 31, but many households are still awaiting a decision on their claim. In Santa Monica as of March 29, 2,939 complete household applications have been filed and 1,842 households have been served with an average assistance of $15,283. 

In light of these ongoing protections, it is possible that landlords will continue to face financial hardship due to unpaid rent. Santa Monica landlords who are struggling with mortgage payments can seek relief through the Los Angeles County Mortgage Relief Program.

This program is geared towards mom and pops landlords and is therefore open to landlords with four or fewer units. Eligible landlords can receive up to $30,000 in grants as well as free foreclosure prevention counseling services. These services are also available for free to landlords with 15 or fewer units. 

Information on mortgage relief is available at https://nhslacounty.org/programs-and-services/mortgagereliefprogram/ and information on foreclosure prevention is available at https://dcba.lacounty.gov/foreclosure-prevention.

Clara@smdp.com